At least three people were killed and 19 others were injured in a mortar attack during an event in Kabul, officials told TOLO News. The gathering was being held to mark the 24th death anniversary of minority community Hazara leader Abdul Ali Mazari, leader of the Hezb-e Wahdat party.
The Hazara community has been a frequent target of Sunni Muslim militant groups including the Taliban, al Qaeda and Islamic State. No group, however, has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.
The news channel’s reporter said he heard at least 15 explosions during the attack that began when Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah was addressing the gathering. “This is one of the signs of the enemies of Afghanistan,” Abdullah said, when the first blast was heard in the distance and urged the group to be calm.
Former president Hamid Karzai, former National Security Advisor Haneef Atmar, former Vice president Yunus Qanuni, Acting Foreign Minister, Salahuddin Rabbani, Second Deputy Chief Executive Mohammad Mohaqiq, and other officials were also present at the ceremony.
Presidential candidate Mohammad Hanif Atmar, who was also present at the event, escaped unhurt but eight of his security guards sustained injuries. Atmar’s spokesperson said they were in a stable condition.
The Ministry of Public Health said that “two people were killed in a house” near the site and another was killed at the event venue.
President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack and called it “a criminal act”.
The incident comes a day after a group of gunmen and suicide bombers attacked a construction company’s office in Afghanistan’s Jalalabad and killed at least 16 people. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for that attack.