At least 80 dead, 231 hurt as Hazara rally attacked in Kabul

Published: July 23, 2016
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Atleast 10 killed in blast during demonstrations from Afghanistan's Hazara minority in Kabul, Afghanistan July 23, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

Atleast 10 killed in blast during demonstrations from Afghanistan's Hazara minority in Kabul, Afghanistan July 23, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

KABUL: A powerful explosion on Saturday ripped through crowds of minority Shia Hazaras in Kabul who had gathered to protest over a power line, killing at least 80 people and leaving 231 others wounded, officials said.

Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the deadly attack which came after a brief lull during the recent holy fasting month of Ramazan.

The bombings, apparently aimed at sowing sectarian discord in a country well known for Shia-Sunni harmony, came as thousands of Hazaras gathered to protest over a multi-million-dollar power line.

Charred bodies and dismembered limbs littered the scene of the attack, with ambulances struggling to reach the site as authorities had overnight blocked key intersections with stacked shipping containers to control movement of the protesters.

“As a result of the attack 80 people were martyred and 231 others were wounded,” the interior ministry said in a statement.

“Based on initial information, the attack was carried out by three suicide bombers… The third attacker was gunned down by security forces.”

An Afghan protester scream near the scene of a suicide attack that targeted crowds of minority Shia Hazaras during a demonstration at the Deh Mazang Circle in Kabul on July 23, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

Ghani vows revenge as Kabul death toll doubles

“The horrific attack on a group of peaceful protestors in Kabul demonstrates the utter disregard that armed groups have for human life,” Amnesty International said in a statement.

“Such attacks are a reminder that the conflict in Afghanistan is not winding down, as some believe, but escalating, with consequences for the human rights situation in the country that should alarm us all.”

In a statement, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said he was “deeply saddened” by the carnage, adding that the casualties included security officials.

“Peaceful protest is the right of every citizen, but opportunist terrorists infiltrated the crowds and carried out the attack, killing and injuring a number of citizens including some security forces.”

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The protest march was largely peaceful before the explosion struck as the demonstrators sought to march on the presidential palace, waving flags and chanting slogans such as “death to discrimination”.

The 500-kilovolt TUTAP power line, which would connect the Central Asian nations of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan with electricity-hungry Afghanistan and Pakistan, was originally set to pass through the central province.

But the government re-routed it through the mountainous Salang pass north of Kabul, saying the shorter route would speed up the project and save millions of dollars.

Hazara leaders in the ethnically divided nation lashed out at the Pashtun president, calling the decision prejudiced against the Hazaras, a community that has suffered a long history of oppression.

Afghan lawmaker killed in blast at his home in Kabul

Saturday’s protest follows a similar demonstration in May, which drew tens of thousands of people.

The three million-strong Hazara community has been persecuted for decades, with thousands killed in the late 1990s by al Qaeda and the mainly Pashtun Sunni Taliban.

Pakistan condemns terrorist attack in Kabul

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the brutal attack in Kabul and expressed sorrow over the loss of lives.

“Terrorism is a common enemy and must be fought with collective and concerted efforts. Pakistan has been bearing the brunt of terrorists as a frontline state in war on terror,” a press release from the PM Secretariat quoted the premier as saying.

Meanwhile, Ministry of Foreign Affairs also condemned the deadly attack in Kabul that targeted a Hazara rally.

“Pakistan is against any kind of terror attacks and determined to eradicate terrorism from the region,” a MOFA statement said.

The ministry also expressed deep condolence with the Afghan government over the loss of innocent lives.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Jul 23, 2016 - 5:44PM

    Poor Hazaras. Very sad. Didn’t they know that they live in Afghanistan, Taliban and ISIS would love to kill them. Recommend

  • Feroz
    Jul 23, 2016 - 6:03PM

    Very sad day for our Afghan brothers. The butchers are at work, but they will be defeated. Those aiding and abetting these criminals and murderers will face the wrath of the Almighty.Recommend

  • Pakistan Zindabad
    Jul 23, 2016 - 6:48PM

    Now a new series of sectarian riots to be ignite by “Hidden Elements”.Recommend

  • SYED
    Jul 23, 2016 - 8:53PM

    Very sad incident. My heart goes for all the families who lost their loved ones. International Media should raise their voice on this tragic incident, just like they do for France & Germany. Aghan Govt. should forget politics of Pakistan and India, and focus seriously in guarding their people. Pakistan and India, knows how to deal with each other, but Afghan Govt. should not become a tool in their hands. Recommend

  • Bunny Rabbit
    Jul 23, 2016 - 9:06PM

    Every one who dies does not become a martyr . Recommend

  • Bharat
    Jul 24, 2016 - 2:29AM

    Is this from the terrorists, whose mullah Mansoor was killed in Balochistan by the Amricans and who had a Pakistani passport?Recommend

  • Bharat
    Jul 24, 2016 - 2:56AM

    Is this from th LET OR JUD?Recommend

  • M.S.
    Jul 24, 2016 - 4:00AM

    Organizers of Hazara rally are also responsible of this genocide, therefore should be charged for murder. As a common person, I know who is target of ISIS and Taliban and who is not, but Organizers knowing well put innocent people in front of vultures. Recommend

  • Ajeet
    Jul 24, 2016 - 5:23AM

    I see Sunni Pakistani hand in thisRecommend

  • mind control
    Jul 24, 2016 - 5:31PM

    The Good Terrorist had massacred Hazras at Mazar-e-Sharif in 1998.

    The same Good Terrorists have done it now.Recommend

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