The death toll has risen to 80 with a further 230 people injured following a deadly terrorist attack in Kabul.
It has now been confirmed that the attack was carried out by two suicide bombers who targeted a mass demonstration of thousands of members of the Afghan Hazara minority group, reports The Independent.
The blast occurred in the Deh Mazang square – part of a large area of the city that had been sealed off for the protest – where protesters were preparing to set up camp after the four-hour march.
ISIS has now reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack via the Aamaq online news agency, which is linked to the extremist group. Ethnic minority Hazaras are predominantly Shiite Muslims – viewed as heretics by Daesh.
Footage from local media sources showed a scene of total carnage, with bodies and body parts spread across the square.
President Ashraf Ghani has condemned the blast, saying:
Peaceful demonstrations are the right of every citizen of Afghanistan and the government will do everything it can to provide them with security.
Opportunist terrorists went among the protestors and set off explosions that killed and wounded a number of our countrymen including security and defense personnel.
Amnesty International said the attack shows the complete disregard that armed groups have for all human life.
Champa Patel, Amnesty’s South Asia director, said:
Such attacks are a reminder that the conflict in Afghanistan is not winding down, as some believe, but escalating, with consequences for the human rights situation in the country that should alarm us all.
The Hazara demonstrators – considered one of the poorest of Afghanistan’s ethnic groups – were challenging plans for a 500kV power transmission line to be built from Turkmenistan to Kabul, crossing through areas with large Hazara communities.