At least 27 people have been killed after gunmen attacked a ceremony in the Afghan capital where a top Afghan political leader, Abdullah Abdullah, was present but escaped unharmed.
The death toll at Friday’s ceremony to mark the anniversary of a slain minority leader had risen to 27, a ministry of health spokesman said.
“Twenty-seven bodies and 29 wounded transported by … ambulance so far,” Wahidullah Mayar, the health ministry spokesman, told Reuters news agency.
It is the deadliest attack since a peace deal was signed last week between the United States and the Taliban.
“The attack started with a boom, apparently a rocket landed in the area, Abdullah and some other politicians … escaped the attack unhurt,” Fraidoon Kwazoon, Abdullah’s spokesman, was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.
President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack and called it “a crime against humanity”.
Broadcaster Tolo News showed live footage of people running for cover as gunfire was heard.
Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel-Hamid, reporting from Kabul, said that the authorities still did not appear to have control of the situation.
The Taliban denied responsibility for the attack on the gathering marking the anniversary of the death of Abdul Ali Mazari, an ethnic Hazara leader who was killed in 1995 after being taken prisoner by armed Taliban fighters.
The incident comes less than a week after the US and the 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.
Several people were killed in a similar attack on the same commemoration last year. The ISIL (ISIS) group claimed responsibility for that attack.
Hazaras are mostly Shia Muslims who have been repeatedly attacked in Afghanistan.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA