Columns

Video Captures ISIS-Claimed Attack on Kabul Electricity Protest

CCTV footage captured the moment that a suicide bomber detonated his explosive on a flatbed truck carrying demonstrators in Kabul.

Members of the Hazara minority community were protesting the proposed route of a government power-line project on Saturday when ISIS bombers targeted the crowd.

ISIS released photos of the two attackers today.

Afghan officials said one bomber was shot before he was able to detonate his vest. The vests were packed with RDX — an explosive used by the government, Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security noted — and ball bearings.

At least 81 people were killed and more than 200 were wounded, 10 of those critically.

Afghanistan’s Tolo News network acquired the footage of the blast (warning: graphic content):

President Ashraf Ghadni renamed the traffic circle where the blast occurred Martyrs Square.

“The holding of protests is the right of every citizen of Afghanistan and the government puts all efforts to provide security for protesters, but terrorists entered protest and carried out explosions that martyred and wounded a number of citizens including member of security and defense forces,” Ghani said in a statement.

Many of those killed were poor, so businessmen and activists stepped in to pay for their burials at the foot of Qorokh Mountain in western Kabul. “Protesting is the civil right of every citizen. Our countrymen went to the streets to seek justice. This is their right,” Ahmad Zia, a relative of one of the victims, told Tolo.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the “heinous attack” was “all the more despicable by the fact that it targeted a peaceful demonstration.”

“As we reaffirmed at the NATO Warsaw Summit earlier this month, the United States and the international community stand firm in our ongoing support for the people and Government of Afghanistan, and together with the Afghan people and government, we remain committed to work jointly with the Afghan security forces and countries in the region to confront the forces that threaten Afghanistan’s security, stability, and prosperity,” Earnest added.

ISIS has been battling the Taliban for recruits and territory in Afghanistan. While the Taliban conducts bombings of their own, they condemned ISIS’ attack “on a large number of our countrymen.”

“We wish to make clear that the Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate have no hand in this incident,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement. “At the same time we strongly condemn all acts of cynicism which seek to divide the nation into ethnic groups and sides and then pushed into war. Such incidents are carried out by enemies of the nation and is a deplorable step.”

One of the suicide bombers, as claimed by ISIS, who targeted a Kabul rally on July 23, 2016. (ISIS photo)

One of the suicide bombers, as claimed by ISIS, who targeted a Kabul rally on July 23, 2016. (ISIS photo)