Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Secretary-Gerneral’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and UNAMA chief, condemned Tuesday night’s attack on a religious gathering at a wedding hall in Kabul city and said it “was nothing short of an atrocity”.
In a statement, Yamamoto said: “On behalf of the United Nations in Afghanistan, I unequivocally condemn yesterday’s attack in which scores of civilians were killed and injured.
“The facts in this incident are clear. The explosion occurred last night at an event facility where religious leaders had gathered peacefully to mark a day of special significance.
“I reiterate that under no circumstances are such attacks justifiable,” he said.
“The attack in Kabul yesterday is nothing short of an atrocity, and those who have organized and enabled it must be brought to justice and held to account,” Yamamoto added.
At least 50 people were killed in a suicide bombing at about 6pm on Tuesday night. The bomber targeted a religious gathering, being held at a wedding hall, to mark the birthday of Prophet Mohammad.
Footage taken during the ceremony, which also captured the explosion, shows hundreds of people in attendance at the ceremony. The suicide bomber detonated his explosives towards the front of the hall where an Iman was reciting the Quran from a podium.
On Tuesday night officials confirmed the death toll at about 50 but unofficial reports indicate up to 80 people might have been killed.
Responding to the attack, Amnesty International also condemned the incident.
Amnesty International’s Deputy South Asia Director Omar Waraich said: “This sickening attack once again lays bare the growing risks to civilians in Afghanistan, where a record number of civilians were killed in the first half of 2018 – many of them children.
“Any attack in which civilians are deliberately targeted constitutes a war crime under international law, yet those killed in Kabul today will merely become another statistic.
“Armed groups must immediately halt all attacks targeting civilians and indiscriminate attacks, while the Afghan government must make the protection of civilian lives its absolute priority.
“This attack also once again highlights the irresponsibility of countries in the European Union who claim Afghanistan is a safe place for refugees and asylum seekers to be returned to.”
No one has yet admitted responsibility for the blast.
According to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), a total of 1,692 civilians were killed between January 1 and June 30 this year, marking the highest figure for civilian casualties recorded by the UN body.