BEIRUT: The militant Daesh group has claimed responsibility for a gun assault on a political rally in the Afghan capital on Friday that killed 29 people and wounded 61.
“Two brothers… targeted a gathering of apostates… in Kabul city with machine guns, hand grenades and rocket-propelled grenades,” it said in a statement via the Telegram messaging app.
The incident occurred earlier in the day as a political rally led by Afghanistan leader Abdullah Abdullah was by attacked gunmen.
The Taliban immediately denied responsibility for the assault, which occurred at the commemoration ceremony for Abdul Ali Mazari — a politician from the Hazara ethnic group.
Interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said gunfire had erupted from a construction site near the ceremony in the city’s west.
The ceremony was attended by many of the country’s political elite, including Abdullah Abdullah. The interior ministry later confirmed to reporters that “all the high-ranking officials were safely evacuated from the scene”.
The incident comes less than a week after the US and Taliban signed a deal that would pave the way for the complete withdrawal of foreign troops in 14 months.
However, fighting has continued to rage across the country, casting a pall over hopes that the agreement would lead to a reduction in violence.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had immediately condemned the attack, saying the move was made by those who are against the establishment of peace in Afghanistan and seek to use the country for their own gain.