Blasts kill at least 19 at funeral in Kabul

KABUL • A series of blasts in Kabul yesterday killed at least 19 people at a funeral for one of the victims of clashes between the police and protesters a day before.

The latest explosions continued a wave of violence in the capital since a devastating truck bomb last Wednesday. Yesterday's blasts shattered an uneasy calm which had descended after the authorities blocked the streets of Kabul in a bid to prevent a repeat of the bloody confrontation between protesters and the police last Friday.

The violence, fuelled 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 Mr Ghani issued a call for unity. "The country is under attack," he said on Twitter. "We must be strong and united."

Kabul's Italian-run Emergency Hospital, which has treated a stream of wounded people 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 ripped through the crowd.

One of the most bloody weeks in Kabul for months began with the devastating truck bomb attack in the city's diplomatic zone last Wednesday morning, which killed more than 80 people and wounded more than 460. That was followed by five more deaths last Friday during clashes between protesters and the police.

The Taleban, 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.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 04, 2017, with the headline 'Blasts kill at least 19 at funeral in Kabul'. Print Edition | Subscribe