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Explosions Rock Funeral in Kabul, Killing at Least 6 and Injuring Over 80

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombings. But Salahuddin Rabbani, the foreign minister, who was attending the funeral service but was not injured, said, “Barbaric terrorists have turned a funeral into a slaughterhouse.”

In addition to Mr. Rabbani, Abdullah Abdullah, the government’s chief executive and President Ashraf Ghani’s coalition partner, was among other senior government officials at the funeral prayer. Mr. Abdullah was also not injured.

Mr. Abdullah, appearing in a news conference after the blasts, said security measures at the funeral as well as the failures of the previous few days would be investigated.

“We do understand the pain of those mothers and children who lost their loved ones,” he said. “We cannot bring back their loved ones to them. We also understand the overwhelming challenge of security in this country, and the terrorist groups which are active inside the country, the support that they receive.”

Mr. Ghani, in a brief statement, condemned the explosions and pleaded for unity, saying, “The country is under enemy attack.”

More than a thousand people had gathered for the final prayer for Salem Izidyar, the son of the deputy speaker of the Senate, who was killed Friday during protests in Kabul calling for the resignation of the government for what many said was its failure to stop the truck bombing on Wednesday. Security forces had opened fire to disperse the crowd.

At Mr. Izidyar’s funeral on Saturday, a grave had been dug farther up a hill, and banners with pictures of him in his graduation gown dotted the cemetery.

Then, three back-to-back explosions shattered the air, and a scene of mournful quiet changed into in chaos as people started shouting, screaming and fleeing the scene. Bodies piled up on one another.

Mr. Izidyar’s body was rushed by a couple of dozen people to his grave, to get it away from the crowd. Ambulances soon arrived to take the wounded and the newly dead away.

The explosions came a day after the commander of Kabul Garrison, Gen. Gul Nabi Ahmadzai, asked protesters not to hold public gatherings because of a high threat level from groups planning “to target our people’s gatherings and protests with suicide bombings, explosions and assaults.”

The calls for the resignations of security officials grew only louder after the latest blast, with many Afghans accusing General Ahmdzai’s command of failing to take proper measures despite having information about looming threats.

But Mr. Abdullah said resignations would not solve the problem. “If that would have been the solution for the challenges of our country, that the country is faced with, I am sure — at least I am talking about myself — I would be ready to resign, if that would have helped.”

Source: NYT > World

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