Funeral held for victims of suicide bomb attack in Kabul

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Funerals have taken place in Kabul for victims of Saturday’s suicide bomb attack claimed by so-called Islamic State (IS), which killed 80 people. Bodies were still being collected from morgues as the first burials were conducted in the west of the city, reports BBC.

The bomber targeted a protest march by members of the Hazara minority, Shia Muslims reviled by IS, a Sunni group. President Ashraf Ghani has led prayers for the dead and Afghanistan is observing a day of national mourning.

Some families were still searching for missing relatives on Sunday, gathering outside hospitals to read the names posted on the walls, and checking morgues. One family told the BBC they had four people still unaccounted for.

Funeral in Kabul on Sunday * PHOTO: Wall Street Journal

Funeral in Kabul on Sunday * PHOTO: Wall Street Journal

According to Reuters, The attack, described by the top U.N. official in Afghanistan as a “war crime”, drew a shocked reaction from across the world, with condemnation and offers of support from countries including Russia and the United States.

But for some, there was a sense of fury at both the government and Hazara political leaders who they said have exploited the grievances of their community at longstanding discrimination to shore up their own power bases.

“They sold us and we will never forget this,” said Ghulam Abbas, a Hazara mourner. “They’ve built skyscrapers for themselves and their families from our blood.”

The Hazara, a Persian-speaking minority who make up about 9 percent of the population, have by and large supported Ghani’s government, which includes some of their senior leaders, but many complain bitterly that their support has not been returned.

Saturday’s protest over the route of a multimillion dollar power line, which demonstrators wanted to re-route through two provinces with large Hazara populations, had become a touchstone for a wider sense of injustice.

The demonstration took place under tight security, with much of Kabul blocked off. But there was disagreement in the Hazara community as well as in the government about whether it should have gone ahead given the obvious risk of an attack.

For many, such as 42 year-old Dost Mohammad, who was nearby when the two explosions went off, there was a sense of abandonment by the authorities.

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