7 dead, dozens hurt after blasts rock Kabul protester’s funeral

7 dead, dozens hurt after blasts rock Kabul protester’s funeral

Updated 12:52 PM ET, Sat June 3, 2017

Mourners in Kabul run for safety Saturday after an explosion at a funeral.

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN)Seven people were killed and 119 others wounded Saturday in a trio of suicide bombings during the funeral of a protester killed a day earlier in anti-government demonstrations in the capital city, Afghan officials said.

“Three big bangs” went off at the funeral of Salem Izadyar, the son of Mohammad Alam Izadyar, the first deputy chairman of the Afghan Senate, a witness told CNN.
The Taliban denied involvement in the funeral attack, according to a statement.
The blasts owed to three suicide bombings, said the government’s chief executive, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, who attended the funeral and tweeted that he was not harmed in the attack. Abdullah described the incident on TV, Sune Engel Rasmussen of The Guardian said on CNN.
Lawmakers and high-profile government officials attended the funeral, including officials from Mohammad Alam Izadyar’s Jamiat-e Islami party, Rasmussen said. Jamiat is a largely Tajik political movement and an adversary of the Taliban.

‘Bring terrorists to justice’

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said he and Abdullah “share a commitment” to “bring terrorists to justice.” The men are the leaders of Afghanistan’s national unity government.
“The country is under attack. We must be strong and united,” Ghani said on Twitter.
“There have been too many martyrs, and too much blood spilt,” Ghani said in another tweet. “I grieve with the widows and orphans, and pray for those lost.”
Meantime, a former Afghan intelligence chief, Amrullah Saleh, lashed out at the government for its failure to protect the funeral.

Salem Izadyar died at a hospital after he was injured Friday in anti-government protests in Kabul, Afghan media reported.
Incensed over the Wednesday suicide attack that left 90 dead in Kabul’s diplomatic zone, Afghans took to the streets Friday to demand the government’s resignation. There has been no claim of responsibility.
At least four people died in the protests as demonstrators hurled stones and Afghan police fired bullets into the air in an attempt to disperse crowds.
In recent months, the security situation in Kabul and throughout Afghanistan has worsened, heightening residents’ anxiety and despair.
The uptick in violence this week coincides with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a time of fasting and contemplation. The Taliban claimed responsibility at the start of the holy period for a car bombing that killed at least 18 people last Saturday in eastern Afghanistan.

‘Too much civilian suffering’

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan expressed concern about the Wednesday strike and the rage on the streets on Friday.
“The genuine anger expressed by the protesters, many of whom suffered the loss of family and friends, is fully understandable,” Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, said Friday in a statement.
“But this tragic week has already added too much civilian suffering to Afghanistan, and further violence will not solve any problems,” he said.
The violence comes as a regional summit is scheduled for Tuesday in Afghanistan to promote peace, security and reconciliation. The effort is dubbed the Kabul Process, and representatives from 21 nations have been invited, according to local news reports.
The conference will be a “visible reminder to all those who seek to harm Afghanistan that the Afghan people are never alone,” US ambassador to Afghanistan Hugo Llorens said.
“As always, the United States, along with all of Afghanistan’s partners, remains shoulder-to-shoulder with our Afghan brothers and sisters in pursuit of a brighter tomorrow for all Afghans,” Llorens said in a statement.