March 07, 2019
Men carry an injured person to the hospital after attacks in Kabul, Afghanistan March 7, 2019. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail
By Abdul Qadir Sediqi
KABUL (Reuters) – Several rockets were fired on Thursday at a gathering of members of the Shi’ite Muslim Hazara minority in the Afghan capital, Kabul, killing at least one person and wounding several.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but over the years Hazaras have been repeatedly attacked by Sunni Muslim militant groups such as the Taliban, al Qaeda and Islamic State.
TOLO News, which had a camera crew reporting live from the commemoration, said that at least 10 explosions were heard at the commemoration on the anniversary of a Hazara leader’s death.
“Our gathering is under attack. Rockets are being dropped on us from every direction,” said Muhammad Mohaqiq, a lawmaker and leader of the main Hazara political party from the stage in comments aired on television.
Hundreds of people including top government officials such as Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah and at least three candidates in a July presidential election were at the commemoration.
People could be seen scattering in all directions as the rockets fell.
At least one person was killed and 16 wounded, said Wahidullah Mayar, a spokesman for the public health ministry
A spokesman for the interior ministry, Nasrat Rahimi, said one suspect had been arrested, while several others had been surrounded by the security forces.
Presidential candidate Mohammad Hanif Atmar was unhurt, but eight of his security guards were wounded. They were in stable condition, said Atmar’s spokesman, Qader Shah.
The gathering was for the anniversary of the death of Abdul Ali Mazari, a Hazara leader who died in 1995 after being taken prisoner by the Taliban.
A reporter who was present at the gathering site said ambulances had rushed to the area to help.
“Many people were injured,” the reporter told TOLO News.
The attack came a day after a suicide bomb and gun attack on a construction company in the eastern city of Jalalabad that killed at least 16 people.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for that attack.
(Reporting by Abdul Qadir Sediqi, Rupam Jain, Rod Nickel,; Editing by Robert Birsel)