Fears that targeting of Shia Hazara community could worsen sectarian violence in Afghanistan.
Shadi Khan Saif - KABUL, Afghanistan (AA) – Afghanistan declared a day of mourning on Sunday, a day after 81 people were killed in a twin suicide attack claimed by pro-Daesh militants.
More than 200 were wounded according to the Ministry of Interior, with citizens lining up outside hospitals in the capital Kabul to donate blood.
The blasts ripped through a crowd of thousands of protesters in Kabul, mostly from the Shia Hazara minority, who were pushing a long-held demand for the government to re-route an electricity supply line so that it could benefit them in central Afghanistan.
The Taliban immediately denied any involvement but fighters loyal to the Syria and Iraq-based Daesh militant group claimed responsibility, highlighting that they had targeted Hazaras.
Though the group has some control in parts of Afghanistan's eastern provinces, they had not previously carried out a major attack in the capital.
Alexey Yusupov, country director for the German NGO Friedrich Ebert Stiftung told Anadolu Agency that if the Daesh claim was true, then it could exacerbate sectarian tensions in the country, which he said would be "a very bad thing for Afghanistan."
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani also claimed the attackers "think that they can divide us" after holding a high-level security meeting that was attended by Hazara community leaders.