Afghanistan: ISIS claims attack on Kabul protest that has killed over 60

An injured victim is aided after a suicide bomb attack on a protest by ethnic Hazaras, in Kabul. Photograph: Hedayatullah Amid/EPA

The Islamic State (IS) extremist organization has claimed responsibility for a suicide attack in Kabul, which has killed over 60 people and targeted members of Afghanistan’s Hazara minority who had gathered to protest a power line.

IS’s Amaq news agency reported that two IS fighters detonated explosive belts at the gathering.

An Afghan Health Ministry official said at least 61 people were killed and 207 wounded in the blast.

The Hazara were demanding that the 500-kilovolt transmission line from Turkmenistan to Kabul be rerouted through the central province of Bamiyan, which has a large Hazara population.

The government says this plan would cost millions and delay the project by years.

Ambulances struggled to reach the scene as authorities overnight had blocked key intersections with stacked shipping containers to prevent demonstrators from reaching the presidential palace.

Demonstrators gathered near Kabul University, several kilometers from the main government area, waving Afghan flags and chanting slogans like “Justice! Justice!” and “Death to discrimination!”

The original plan was for the power line to run through the Bamiyan Province, where most of the country’s Hazaras live.

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