IS attack on Afghan protest kills at least 80, wounds 231

From The Associated Press:

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — At least 80 people were killed and another 231 wounded in the Afghan capital on Saturday, when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives-packed clothing among a large crowd of demonstrators, officials and witnesses said.

In a statement issued by its news agency, Aamaq, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack on a protest march by Afghanistan’s ethnic Hazaras. The marchers were demanding that a major regional electric power line be routed through their impoverished home province. Most Hazaras are Shiite Muslims, while most Afghans are Sunni.

The attack is one of the deadliest in Afghanistan since the Taliban launched a violent insurgency in 2001.

If the IS claim is correct, the bombing would mark the first time the group has launched an attack in the Afghan capital. IS has been building a presence along Afghanistan’s eastern border with Pakistan, mostly in Nangarhar province, for the past year.

President Ashraf Ghani, speaking live on television, said that Sunday would be a national day of mourning.

Earlier, Waheed Majroeh, the head of international relations for the Ministry of Public Health, said the death toll was likely to rise “as the condition of many of the injured is very serious.”

Footage on Afghan television and photographs posted on social media showed a scene of horror and carnage, with numerous bodies and body parts spread across the square.

Other witnesses said that after the blast, security personnel shot their weapons in the air to disperse the crowd. Secondary attacks have been known to target people who come to the aid of those wounded in a first explosion.

Road blocks that had been set up overnight to prevent the marchers accessing the …

Continue Reading