Deadly suicide attacks target funeral of Afghan Senator’s son
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Three suicide bombers detonated explosives at a funeral in Kabul on Saturday killing at least six people. Several senior Afghan officials and politicians were attending the funeral of the anti-government protester who was killed the previous day.
The explosions came just three days after a powerful truck bomb attack in the city’s diplomatic district killed 90 people and wounded more than 450. The attack raised fears about the government's ability to protect its citizens after nearly 16 years into a war with insurgents.
Wahid Mujro, spokesman for the Public Health ministry, said three explosions rocked the cemetery where the son of Afghan Senator Mohammd Alam Ezadyar was about to be buried. Salim Ezadyar was one of several people killed during Friday’s protests attended by more than a thousand people in downtown Kabul.
His father, a deputy speaker of Afghanistan's upper house of parliament, is an ethnic Tajik and ally of Afghanistan's CEO Abdullah Abdullah.
Abdullah, who was at the funeral, said the attack was caused by three suicide bombers who were amongst the mourners. In a televised address to the nation shortly after the attack, Abdullah called for calm.
“This was a funeral service of a young man, Salim, a graduate from a military school in India and he was taking part in demonstrations expressing his anger at the growing insecurity in Afghanistan,” explained FRANCE 24’s Bilal Sarwary, reporting from Kabul. “Today it was his funeral and today there are funerals for many many families.”
Deadly week in Afghan capital
The latest tragedy capped a deadly week in the Afghan capital following Wednesday’s deadly explosions in Kabul’s diplomatic district.
The week began with the devastating truck bomb attack in the city's diplomatic zone on Wednesday morning. That was followed by five more deaths on Friday during clashes which broke out between protesters and police at a rally demanding the resignation of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani over repeated security failures.
As the violence has continued, it has become increasingly politicised, exacerbating tensions within Ghani’s divided government and between rival ethnically based political groups.
Reporting from Kabul, FRANCE 24’s Sarway explained that the discourse following Saturday’s attack had turned incendiary. “For instance, the foreign minister, Salahuddin Rabbani, said that there were those inside the establishment who have carried out this attack. The governor of Balkh province in northern Afghanistan has said that those inside the government must be cleaned. So there’s a lot of mistrust,” said Sarwary. “This massive security breach today will no doubt be a huge blow for the moral of the people of Afghanistan as well as the Afghan national security forces.”
In a brief statement issued Saturday, Ghani condemned the explosions and pleaded for unity, saying, “The country is under enemy attack.”
The Taliban, which has often carried out bomb attacks in the past, issued a swift denial that it had any role and instead blamed factional rivalries in the government's own camp, the group's spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.
The mostly Pashtun Taliban also denied responsibility for Wednesday’s truck bombing, which came in the midst of their annual “spring offensive” and in the first week of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
But Afghanistan's intelligence agency has maintained that the Taliban-allied Haqqani Network was responsible for the attack.
The Haqqani Network, long thought to have ties to neighbouring Pakistan's shadowy military establishment, is led by Sirajuddin Haqqani -- who is also the Taliban's deputy leader.
It has carried out numerous attacks in Kabul, including the 2008 Indian embassy bombing that killed almost 60 people.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)