At least 27 people were killed and 29 others wounded in a shooting attack that hit an assembly in the western side of the Afghan capital Kabul on Friday, dispersing shocked audience in an open area, an Interior Ministry official said.
“Based on the initial information, 27 civilians, including women and children, were killed and 29 civilians were wounded in Friday’s terrorist attack in Dashti Barchi locality, Police District 6 of Kabul,” Nasrat Rahimi, a spokesman of the Interior Ministry, told local Tolo News TV. The attack occurred when gunmen fired with machine guns on the meeting held in Mosala-e-Shahid Mazari, a sport stadium-like cultural-religious complex roughly at 11:20 a.m. local time.
Chairman of the Afghan High Peace Council Karim Khalili was delivering a speech when the shooting started, triggering the audience to look for shelter from bullets. “The counter-attack is continuing as of late in the afternoon. The Crisis Response Unit (CRU) of Afghan National Police cleared two buildings and efforts are underway to capture or kill the terrorists in the third building held up by the terrorists,” Rahimi noted. Most of the politicians and government officials at the gathering, including government Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, Khalili and former President Hamid Karzai, were unhurt and left the area safely.
The ceremony was commemorating the death anniversary of Jihadi leader Abdul Ali Mazari. The same event was dispersed in a mortar firing attack last year in March, killing 11 civilians and injuring 95 others. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far. The Afghan civilians continue to bear the brunt of armed conflicts as more than 3,400 civilians were killed and over 6,900 others injured in conflict-related incidents in 2019, according to the figures released by the UN mission in the country.