Calls for national unity following Kabul funeral bombings

AFP and Staff


Afghan relatives push the wheelchair of a wounded man outside a Kabul hospital June 3, following a series of explosions at the funeral of a politician's son who was killed during a June 2 protest over insecurity. [Wakil Kohsar/AFP]

KABUL -- Explosions rocked the funeral of an Afghan politician's son in Kabul Saturday (June 3), killing at least seven people and wounding dozens.

The blasts at the burial site of Salim Ezadyar spiked tensions in a city already on edge from a massive truck bombing in Kabul's diplomatic quarter May 31 that killed at least 90 and wounded hundreds.

The hilly, wind-swept cemetery was littered with bloodied corpses and dismembered limbs.

"So far seven dead bodies and 119 wounded people have been brought to Kabul hospitals," Health Ministry spokesman Waheed Majroh told AFP.

The funeral of Ezadyar, the son of an Afghan senator, was attended by senior government figures including Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah and Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani, who both escaped unharmed.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack, with the Taliban again denying involvement.

The government has blamed the Taliban-allied Haqqani Network for the May 31 attack, but still no group has claimed responsibility for it.

Calls for national unity

Afghan political leaders and ulema have strongly condemned the attacks, calling them against Islam and Afghan culture.

President Ashraf Ghani made a televised appeal for national unity after the funeral bombings.

"The country is under attack," he said. "We must stay strong and united."

Maulvi Qiamuddin Kashaf, chairman of the Afghan Ulema Council, accused insurgents of flouting the precepts of Islam they claim to defend.

"Our culture and Islam do not allow anyone to kill innocent people, especially in holy places," he told Salaam Times.

"Attacks by the Taliban on mosques, funerals and schools are abhorrent," he said, adding that the insurgents trample on human values.

Kashaf called on the authorities to do everything possible to help the victims of the May 31 bombing.

Abdullah, the government chief executive, also condemned the attack, calling on the nation to stand united and demanding thorough investigations into the bombing.

'No place for terrorism in Islam'

"Terrorists don't know any borders, ethnicity or religion and frequently act against humans and Islam," former Afghan parliamentarian Abdul Rab Rasool Sayyaf said at the Ezadyar funeral, according to local media.

"There is no place for terrorism in Islam nor in Afghan society," he said.

Funeral participant Ershad Amani told Salaam Times he was slightly injured when the three consecutive bombs detonated.

"I don't know how they claim that they are fighting for Islam," he told Salaam Times, speaking of whichever terrorist group is responsible. "How then can they attack Muslims who want to pray during a funeral of a Muslim?"

Afghans should come together and fight united against insurgents and terrorists in the country, he said.

City on lockdown

Police on Saturday locked down much of Kabul, with armed checkpoints and armoured vehicles patrolling the streets to prevent a repeat of Friday's violence.

"We have intelligence reports that our enemies are trying again to carry out attacks on gatherings and demonstrations," Kabul Garrison Commander Lt. Gen. Gul Nabi Ahmadzai said at a press conference earlier Saturday. "We hope that people will stay away from protests."

[Izazullah from Kabul contributed to this report.]

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