Three suicide bombers have killed at least 12 people and injured another 90 at a funeral of a man who died during a protest on Friday in Kabul, Afghan officials say.
Triple blasts hit mourners at a cemetery in the Khair Khana district and were left with bloodied bodies and dismembered limbs on the ground as smoke filled the air. Abdullah Abdullah, the chief executive of Afghanistan, was one of the several politicians who survived the blasts as they gathered for the funeral of Salim Ezadyar, the son of a senior Afghan Senator. He expressed his surprise at how the suicide bombers who detonated their vests at the start of the prayers broke into the high-profile funeral and demanded an investigation into the matter.
There has been no claim of responsibility for the atrocity by either Taliban or ISIS according to Independent. The Taliban denied involvement and said it did not carry out the funeral bombings. The Islamic State militants have refrained from any comment but have been attempting to expand its presence in Afghanistan, claiming a separate bombing on Wednesday in Jalalabad that killed a Taliban member, and has called for increased global terror attacks during Ramadan.
The Taliban has been intensifying its insurgency since the partial withdrawal of international troops in 2014, gaining ground to contest or hold around 40 per cent of Afghanistan.
Rahmatullah Begana, who was at the funeral, said the first explosion went off at the start of the ceremony.
“A few minutes later, there was another explosion. I saw a lot of people on the ground covered with blood,” he said.
Salim Ezadyar, whose funeral ceremony was in progress, was the son of Alam Ezadyar, the deputy speaker of the upper house of Afghanistan’s Parliament.
He was among the protesters who were shot dead by police at a violent demonstration in Kabul on Friday. The protesters were demanding that the government improves security following another bombing that killed more than 90 people and injured 450 more in the Afghan capital on May, 31.
Police used water cannons and tear gas and open-fired at protesters who attempted to move closer to the Presidential Palace. The city’s police chief claimed that some demonstrators fired weapons in the direction of his officers, while an Afghan MP confirmed at least eight protesters had been shot dead.
On May, 31, a tanker truck believed to be carrying either water or human waste exploded on Wednesday near Zanbaq Square in Kabul’s 10th district, close to shops and restaurants, and killed more than 90 people. This occurred close to the German embassy in the Wazir Akbar Khan area of the capital on Wednesday morning though the entry of the truck was prevented from entering the Green Zone that houses government offices and several foreign embassies.
Salim Ezadyar and other protesters were demonstrating protest and showing anger at the government for not doing more to prevent that attack. Now Salim’s funeral has been targeted, presumably by a militant group reported BBC News.
— Hamid Haidari (@Hamidhaideri) June 3, 2017
More than a third of Afghanistan is now said to be outside government control. The U.S. has about 8,400 troops in Afghanistan, while another 5,000 from Nato allies are in the country. The security situation has continued to worsen – more than 15 years after the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in the “war on terror” – forcing Donald Trump to consider sending thousands of American troops to bolster Nato forces.
Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani has met with senior security officials in an emergency meeting amid fears over the government’s inability to protect its citizens in view of the nation’s spiraling unrest. The office of the President said that he condemned “the outrageous attack on mourners burying the martyred” and added, “The country is under attack. We must be strong and united.”
[Featured Image by Massoud Hossaini/AP Images]