Terrorism

Outpouring of outrage follows video of children weeping over wounded mother

By Salaam Times and AFP

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A screenshot from a video circulated on social media shows two children, one of whom is covered in blood, screaming over an unconscious woman in the aftermath of a bombing in Kabul on February 21. At one point, one of the children says, 'Mother, get up!'

KABUL -- A gruesome video of a Kabul blast site on Sunday (February 21), showing bloodied children standing over an unconscious woman, quickly went viral and sparked fresh outrage in Afghanistan.

Four people were killed and six wounded Sunday afternoon, in a roadside bomb blast at Kabul's Baraki roundabout, a source told TOLOnews Monday.

The blast appeared to target Col. Sayed Abrar Sadat, an official in the Ministry of Interior Affairs, the source said. Sadat, two other ministry officials and a child were killed, while three children and two women were among the wounded.

The video, taken in the immediate aftermath, shows bodies bloodied and blackened lying on the asphalt, while two small children can be seen crying over an unconscious woman.

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Policemen arrive at the site of a bombing that killed at least four Afghans and injured six others in Kabul on February 21. [AFP]

The two children -- one of them covered in blood -- can be heard screaming. At one point, one says, "Mother, get up!"

The man filming the video can be heard telling the children to "calm down" as the woman is carried away.

The video can be seen here.

Reaction to the video was immediate, with social media users in Afghanistan expressing horror over the images. The hashtag "Mother get up!" (#مادر_بلند_شو) in the Dari language quickly started trending.

"Unbearable to watch this mother & her children like this," wrote one Twitter user, Ejaz Malikzada.

"How could those who commit this justifies their action to their own souls while you see kids crying for their injured mother? This needs to STOP," tweeted Fawzia Koofi, a member of the government's peace team negotiating with the Taliban, in English.

The two children were treated for light injuries while the woman in the video was seriously wounded, confirmed Kabul police spokesman Ferdaws Faramarz.

Surge in bombings

Kabul, along with urban areas across Afghanistan, has been rocked by frequent explosions on an almost daily basis amid the fraught peace talks between the government and the Taliban.

Three explosions rocked Kabul Saturday morning, killing at least five people and injuring two others, authorities said.

Three "sticky bombs" exploded in different locations between 8 and 10am, said Faramarz.

The first explosion injured two civilians, while the second blast killed two soldiers, as well as a woman, he said.

The third bomb left two police officers dead.

The Ministry of Interior Affairs confirmed the details.

Security sources said at least two of the victims in the second explosion worked for the Defence Ministry, though the ministry would not confirm.

No group claimed responsibility, but Afghan security forces are regularly targeted by the Taliban.

The Taliban denied any involvement.

Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, blamed the Taliban for the continuing violence, saying the Afghan people are the main victims of the bloodshed.

"A ceasefire is the main demand of Afghans, and the continuation of violence is taking lives every day," he said.

Peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban have stalled for the past 35 days, Abdullah said.

"We also want the negotiations to begin as soon as possible and to continue seriously," he said.

President Ashraf Ghani in a telephone conversation with families of fallen soldiers assured them that he will not allow the establishment of an interim government as part of peace efforts.

"Be sure that they [the Taliban] will not see an interim government while I am alive," he said. "I am not the tree that shakes with winds."

'Clearly the Taliban'

The Taliban deny being behind escalated violence, saying those responsible are other insurgent groups, such as the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS).

Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, commander of US Central Command (CENTCOM), last Thursday indicated that conditions have not been met for a withdrawal.

While the Taliban had pledged to reduce violence under their deal with the United States, they have not done so, McKenzie said on a plane to Pakistan.

"Certainly ISIS has launched some attacks. It pales against what the Taliban is doing," McKenzie said, denouncing violence against Afghan forces and a string of "targeted assassinations in some of the urban areas".

"This is clearly the Taliban," he said. "There is no way it's anyone else. That's very clear."

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