Kabul: Officials say at least 27 people were killed during a political meeting in Kabul on Friday, the deadliest attack on Afghanistan since the US and the Taliban signed a withdrawal agreement.
The attack underlined a serious lack of security in the solid Afghan capital just 14 months before the planned withdrawal of all foreign troops under an agreement signed by the United States and the Taliban on February 29.
Interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said women and children were among the dead with an additional 29 wounded, adding that “special forces units are carrying out clearance operations against the attackers”. “The figures will change,” he said.
Nizamuddin Jalil, the official Minister of Health, said something more and said that 29 people were killed and 30 others were injured.
The Taliban immediately denied responsibility for the attack, which took place during a memorial service for Abdul Ali Mazari, an Hazara ethnic politician, most of whom were Shiites.
Last year, a group of the Islamic State claimed to have attacked during the same ceremony, with a group of mortar grenades killing at least 11 people. Rahimi said earlier that there were shootings, mostly Shiites, near a construction site on the west side of the ceremony. Photos on social media showed different bodies collected after the attack.
President Ashraf Ghani condemned the Holocaust and called it “crime against humanity.” Political elites from many countries, including the executive head of Afghanistan, Abdullah Abdullah, attended the ceremony.
The Ministry of the Interior then confirmed to reporters that “all senior officials have safely evacuated the scene.” Hazara leader Mohammad Mohaqiq told Newsweek: “After the gunfire, we left the ceremony and many were injured, but I have no reports of those who reported problems.”