No less than 80 persons have been killed and 230 injured in a twin explosions that ripped through a demonstration by members of Afghanistan’s mainly Shi’ite Hazara minority in the country’s capital, Kabul, on Saturday.
This is even as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group claimed responsibility for the double suicide attack, which is considered among the most deadly attacks since the U.S.-led force campaign to oust the Taliban in 2001,
“Two fighters from Islamic State detonated explosive belts at a gathering of Shi’ites in the city of Kabul in Afghanistan,” said a brief statement on the group’s Amaq news agency.
The attack in Deh Mazang square targeted thousands from the Shia Hazara minority who were protesting over a new power line, saying its route bypasses provinces where many of them live.
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Also, an impeccable Afghan intelligence source told the BBC that an IS commander named Abo Ali had sent three jihadists from the Achen district of Nangarhar province to carry out the Kabul attack.
The interior ministry said only one attacker had successfully detonated an explosives belt. The belt of the second failed to explode and the third attacker was killed by security forces.
Meanwhile, Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani addressed the nation on TV, declaring today (Sunday) a day of national mourning.
“I promise you I will take revenge against the culprits,” he said.
The United States and Russia condemned the attack and renewed pledges of security assistance to Kabul.
“We remain committed to work jointly with the Afghan security forces and countries in the region to confront the forces that threaten Afghanistan’s security, stability, and prosperity,” the White House said in a statement.
Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated his “readiness to continue the most active cooperation with … Afghanistan in fighting all forms of terrorism”, Russian news agencies quoted a Kremlin statement as saying.