AT LEAST 41 people were killed and 84 wounded in a suicide bomb attack on a Shi’ite cultural centre in Kabul yesterday.
The Isis death cult in Afghanistan claimed responsibility for the attack against a building which also housed the Afghan Voice news agency.
The Sunni extremists of Isis view Shi’ites as apostates and are hostile to Iran, toward which Afghan Voice and its owner Sayed Eissa Hussaini Mazari are reportedly sympathetic.
An Isis-linked news agency claimed the attack was carried out because the centre was funded by Iran and used to propagate Shi’ite beliefs.
Afghan Voice journalist Ali Reza Ahmadi said that he jumped from the window of his first-floor office after the first bomb went off. Four bombs were used in the attack.
“I jumped from the roof toward the basement, yelling at people to get water to put out the fire,” he said.
Local Shi’ite leader Abdul Hussain Ramazandada said the bomber had slipped into an academic seminar at the centre and blown himself up among the students.
Mohammed Sabir Nasib, the director of the nearby Istiqlal hospital, said its emergency department was overwhelmed and extra doctors and nurses had been drafted in. At one point 50 medics were working to save the wounded.
By late afternoon, Health Ministry spokesman Wahid Mujro said 41 people were dead and 84 others wounded.
The cultural centre was housed in a simple building surrounded by mud-brick homes in the Dasht-e-Barchi area, home to some of Kabul’s poorest people.
The centre had been marking the anniversary of the 1979 Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, when the government called in Soviet aid against an insurrection waged by US and British-backed Islamist extremists.
Toby Lanzer, the acting head of the United Nations mission to Afghanistan, said the bombing was “another truly despicable crime in a year already marked by unspeakable atrocities.”
Hundreds of civilians have been killed this year in attacks by the Taliban, Isis and the United States.
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