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80 killed, 231 injured in blast targeting protesters

Govt declares Sunday as National Day of Mourning; World leaders condemn Kabul attack

By Farhad Naibkhel-KABUL: President Ashraf Ghani in a televised statement, declared today as National Mourning for Saturday’s suicide attack in which80 protestors killed and 231 others were wounded, after a suicide bomber targeted demonstration Saturday in capital Kabul.

He said the attack was carried out by the enemies of Afghan unity, vowing to take the revenge of the killing of “innocent protesters”.

Ministry of Interior said the latest death toll was 80while 231others wounded people were shifted from blast incident took place among protesters in Kabul in Dehmazang areaat2:30pm.

He said that casualty figure might be mounting.

Wounded people were rushed to hospitals who appealed for blood.

Meanwhile, Ministry of Public Health told Afghanistan Times that at least 64 people were killed and 265 others received injuries. It is feared that the death toll might increase.

After blast, protesters dispersed in the area.

Taliban rejected involvement in the attack. The group condemned the attack.

The Daesh terrorist group reportedly took responsibility for the attack.

Thousands from the Hazara ethnic minority came out on the streets to demand changes to the route of a planned multi-million dollar power transmission line. Protestors’ dispersed after explosion.

The demonstrators were demanding the 500kV transmission line from Turkmenistan to Kabul be rerouted through two provinces with the large Hazara population.

Earlier, the government had said that accepting demands of protestors would need millions of dollars as well as the delay in the crucial project. Government agreed to provide electricity to the provinces where the protestors demand to reroute the project through the areas.

The transmission line, intended to provide secure electricity to 10 provinces is part of a project backed by the Asia Development Bank.

Under current plans, the line will transfer from Pul-e-Khumri to Kabul through the mountainous Salang pass.

The president also called peaceful demonstration the right of everyone, saying that the government would provide security to public.

The President once again offered his condolences and sympathies to the families and loved ones of all those affected, and wished paradise for those martyred.

Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah also condemned the attack.

“We need to step up and stand united against this and other such horrible atrocities.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi strongly condemned Kabul suicide attack that left dozens of people killed and wounded.

“India stands with Afghanistan in resolutely opposing all forms of terrorism,” he twitted.

“Strongly condemn dastardly terror attack on innocent civilians in Kabul. Sincerely condole loss of lives and injuries in senseless violence”, Modi added.

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also condemned Kabul attack, urging the world community to join forces to fight terrorism, which is a common enemy of humanity.

In his message to the people of Afghanistan, Sharif condemned the loss of human lives in the deadly bomb blast in Kabul.

Nawaz Sharif said terrorists have no religion and they do not have any respect for humanity. He said terrorism should be dealt with iron hands. He expressed Pakistan’s unflinching stand to fight terrorism. The Prime Minister said Pakistan is a front line state in war against terrorism.

He said Islamabad rendered unmatched sacrifices in war against terrorism and suffered multiple losses. The Prime Minister said Pakistan is ready to extend every kind of support to Afghanistan in war against terrorism.

He expressed solidarity with the people and the government of Afghanistan over the loss of precious human lives. He commiserated with the bereaved families and prayed for early recovery of injured and eternal peace for the deceased.

The United States Embassy in Kabul condemned in the strongest terms the cowardly bombing attack that has claimed scores of innocent lives in Kabul during a peaceful demonstration in which citizens were exercising their constitutional rights.  “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of the deceased, and we wish all of those who were wounded a full recovery,” the statement added.

“We will continue to stand with our Afghan partners and friends as they strive every day to bring peace and security to Afghanistan.”

Meanwhile, the United Nations in Afghanistan also condemned the attack.

“On behalf of the United Nations in Afghanistan, I condemn in the strongest possible terms today’s deadly attack that killed and maimed hundreds of civilian gathered to peacefully demonstrate in Kabul city,” UN Envoy Tadamichi Yamamoto said in a statement.

This attack is particularly heinous because it targeted civilians as they exercised their rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, the statement said.

“An attack deliberately targeting a large, concentrated group of civilians amounts to a war crime. This incident is an outrage that cannot be justified. It is an attempt to spread terror amongst civilians and stifle the freedoms that Afghans have sacrificed so much to obtain. The United Nations stands firmly with the people of Afghanistan as they seek to exercise their fundamental human rights.”

“I reiterate that international humanitarian law prohibits the deliberate targeting of civilians and international human rights law requires the Government and non-state actors to respect and protect the rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression. The perpetrators of today’s attack must be held accountable.”

“On behalf of the United Nations in Afghanistan, I express our deep condolences to the families of the victims and wish a speedy recovery for the injured.”

The Resolute Support Mission also strongly condemned today’s attack that targeted a peaceful protest and killed dozens of civilians and injured many more.

“Our condolences go out to those who are affected by today’s attack,” the Resolute Support Mission commander Gen. John W. Nicholson said.

“We strongly condemn the actions of Afghanistan’s enemies of peace and remain firmly committed to supporting our Afghan partners and the National Unity Government.”

The Resolute Support Commander also praised the Afghan law enforcement officials and medical personnel whose efforts prevented additional casualties.

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