At least 19 killed in series of blasts in Afghanistan
A series of blasts in Kabul on Saturday, June 3 killed at least 19 people at a funeral for one of the victims of clashes between police and protesters a day before, Reuters reports.
The latest explosions continued a wave of violence in the capital since a devastating truck bomb on Wednesday.
Saturday’s blasts shattered an uneasy calm which had descended after authorities blocked the streets of Kabul in a bid to prevent a repeat of the bloody confrontation between protesters and police on Friday.
The violence, fueled by public anger over the inability of President Ashraf Ghani’s divided government to ensure security in Kabul, has exacerbated political tensions between rival factions, and Ghani issued a call for unity.
“The country is under attack,” Ghani said in a message on Twitter. “We must be strong and united.”
Kabul’s Italian-run Emergency Hospital, which has treated a stream of wounded over the past few days, said 19 people had been reported killed and 16 wounded had been brought to the hospital. The interior ministry said there were six dead and 87 wounded.
Government Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah was at the funeral but was unharmed, while survivors said a series of explosions had ripped through the crowd, most of whom appeared to be linked to Abdullah’s mainly Tajik Jamiat-e-Islami party.
“There were sounds of explosions everywhere and I saw my hands and face were on fire,” said Mohammad Azim, who was being treated for burns at the Emergency Hospital. “There were parts of human bodies everywhere.”
One of the most bloody weeks in Kabul for months began with the devastating truck bomb attack in the city’s diplomatic zone on Wednesday morning which killed more than 80 people and wounded more than 460.
That was followed by five more deaths on Friday during clashes which broke out between protesters and police at a rally demanding the resignations of Ghani and Abdullah over repeated security failures.
As the violence has continued, it has become increasingly politicized, exacerbating tensions between rival ethnically based political groups.