Death toll rises to 11 in attack on Shia gathering in Kabul

Mortars were fired on Thursday at a commemoration on the death anniversary of a leader of the ethnic Hazara minority.

    The death toll in a mortar attack on a high-profile political gathering in Afghanistan's capital increased to 11 from three, a government statement has said.

    A Ministry of Interior Affairs spokesman, Nasrat Rahimi, said in a statement on Friday that 95 people were also wounded in the attack, which was initially described as a rocket attack in western Kabul. Rahimi blamed the Taliban for the attack.

    On Thursday, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) group had claimed responsibility for the attack.

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    The shelling took place on Thursday in Kabul's western neighbourhood of Dasht-e Barchi, predominantly populated by ethnic minority Hazaras, as politicians and members of the public gathered to remember Abdul Ali Mazari.

    Mazari was a leader of the Hazaras killed by the Taliban in 1995.

    Afghan Deputy Interior Minister Khoshal Sadat wrote on Twitter that one person involved in the attack had been arrested and a compound where the mortars were fired from was surrounded.

    Several key Afghan politicians, including former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, as well as former national security adviser and presidential candidate, Hanif Atmar, participated in the gathering.

    Afghan President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack.

    The Hazaras have long suffered oppression and persecution in Afghanistan. They are now often targeted by groups swearing allegiance to the ISIL.

    SOURCE: News agencies