Up to 20 dead after triple suicide bomb attack at funeral in Kabul (GRAPHIC PHOTOS, VIDEO)
Abdullah Abdullah, the Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and Acting foreign affairs minister Salahuddin Rabbani were both in attendance along with other government officials at the funeral at the time of the explosions. All were unharmed.
Speaking at a press conference Saturday evening, Abdullah condemned the bombings and called for calm while an investigation into the attack is carried out.
"Three suicide attackers with explosives detonated during funeral prayer as the Imam was leading the prayers and as a result a number of our people have been martyred," Abdullah said.
"Considering the current situation in Afghanistan, my request is that people should express their demands and other issues regarding their rights in a way that will not allow the enemies of Afghanistan to take advantage of," he added.
The Taliban denied responsibility for both Saturday's attack and previous attacks this week according to local media. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah is safe and sound. He is unharmed in the explosions at the funeral ceremony in #Kabul this afternoon.— Dr. Abdullah (@afgexecutive) June 3, 2017
The funeral was reportedly for Salim Izadyar, a protester and son of an Afghan senator, who was shot dead in violent anti-government protests which took place in Kabul Friday.
His father Alam Ezadyar is the deputy speaker for the upper house of the Afghanistan Parliament.
Up to five people were killed during the protests according to Afghanistan’s deputy interior minister, as cited by Reuters. Protesters planned a second day of demonstration on Saturday to call for increased security in the capital which has been wracked by violence.
Initial Reports: 18 people killed.— Muslim Shirzad (@MuslimShirzad) June 3, 2017
explosions at the burial site of Salim Izadyar, a protester killed yesterday. pic.twitter.com/X1BG96JkcG
According to Muslim Shirzad, a political presenter at the Afghan channel Tolo TV, the attack has left many Afghan people questioning the government’s competence in providing security, and even if they may be secretly supporting some terrorist groups.
“When you see the comments which come from political leaders, especially from the Jamiat party, they are questioning if this was an inside job by the Afghan government, that they are hiding the terrorists,” Shirzad told RT.
“So, firstly the Afghan people are critically questioning the security situation in the capital, and on the other side is political parties, where there is a kind of doubt about the terrorists which are supported inside the Afghan government, which means there are divides within the Afghan government about counterterrorism.”
Kabul has suffered a number of deadly attacks in recent weeks and the city was still reeling from a bomb blast earlier this week which killed more than 80 people and injured 460 in one of the deadliest attacks in the country in recent history.
تازه: وزارت صحت عامه جان باختن ۱۲ تن و زخمی شدن ۱۸ تن دیگر را در انفجار در مراسم خاک سپاری سالم ایزدیار تأیید کرده است pic.twitter.com/SXQKSJqZvr— TOLOnews (@TOLOnews) June 3, 2017
Kabul’s Garrison Commander, Lt. Gen. Gul Nabi Ahmadzai warned the public to avoid large gatherings and demonstrations at a press conference Friday night, warning of an imminent terrorist threat, citing the ongoing and highly “sensitive security situation.”
Afghan Foreign Minister Rabbani warned of “terrorists in the establishment” on Twitter having survived the attack.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani chaired a meeting of high-ranking security officials earlier on Saturday to discuss the deteriorating security situation in the country.
He later condemned the attack via the official Afghan government Twitter account.
رئیس جمهور ضمن محکوم نمودن حمله بر اشتراک کنندگان مراسم جنازه، به خانواده های شهدا ابراز تسلیت نمود و به زخمیان شفای کامل استدعا کرد.— ارگ (@ARG_AFG) June 3, 2017