Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants has claimed responsibility for the twin suicide bombings in Kabul on Saturday that killed at least 80 people and wounded 231.
The IS-linked Amaq news agency said two fighters "detonated explosive belts at a gathering of Shia" in Kabul. The agency carried an ISIS statement, calling it an attack on Shi'ites.
Graphic videos captured with mobile phones from the site of the blasts showed many dead bodies lying on the road, near the place where thousands of Hazara were protesting over a new power line. They claimed that its route bypasses provinces where many of them live.
"As a result of the attack 80 people were martyred and 231 others were wounded," the interior ministry said in a statement.
"Based on initial information, the attack was carried out by three suicide bombers... The third attacker was gunned down by security forces," the statement added.
The officials said there were reports of emerging blood shortages in the city hospitals after the wounded were admitted there. Urgent appeals for blood donors circulated on social media.
The Taliban, who are more powerful then ISIS, strongly condemned the attack and said they were not involved in the attack.
The National Directorate of Security, Afghanistan's main intelligence agency, said Abu Ali, an ISIS commander in Nangarhar's volatile Achin district was the mastermind of the attack. This shows a major escalation for the militant group in other parts of the country, apart from the eastern province of Nangarhar.
ASHRAF GHANI EXTENDS CONDOLENCE
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said in a statement that he was "deeply saddened" by this attack.
"Holding protests is the right of every citizen of Afghanistan... but terrorists entered the protests, and carried out explosions that martyred and wounded a number of citizens including members of security forces," the presidential palace said.
Before the explosions struck, the protest march was largely peaceful as the demonstrators waved the flags and chanted slogans like "death to discrimination".