Kabul, July 23: Twenty people were killed while 160 injured after an explosion ripped through an area in Kabul on Saturday (July 23) where hundreds of minority Shiite Hazaras had gathered to protest over a key power transmission line, AFP reported. [Blast toll goes up to 80; 230 injured]
The police were transporting the injured to the hospital for treatment following the blast in Dez Mazang Square.
Thousands of protesters from the Hazara community were marching demanding alterations in the route of a planned power line since it bypassed Hazara settlements. [Pak-based terror groups target India's interests in Afghanistan: Envoy]
The cause of the blast was not yet known although the local TOLO news cited unconfirmed reports about a suicide bomber carrying it out.
Eyewitnesses report one suicide bomber had been wearing a burqa and detonated explosives while standing among demonstrators in #Kabul— TOLOnews (@TOLOnews) July 23, 2016
No group has so far claimed responsibility for the blast, but it happened in the middle of the Taliban's annual summer offensive, which the insurgents are ramping up after a brief lull during the holy fasting month of Ramadan which concluded recently.
The protestors were waving banners and condemning "discrimination" which they saw in not taking the power transmission route from Turkmenistan to Kabul through Bamyan and Wardak provinces that are home to large number of Hazaras.
[With agency inputs]