Abdullah unhurt as gunmen kill 27 at memorial for Afghan leader
Qureshi says US must keep eye on elements seeking to disrupt peace

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, condemning the attack in Kabul during a political rally Friday, said that the move was made by those who are against the establishment of peace in Afghanistan and seek to use the country for their own gain.
He said that a close eye will have to be kept on those that are sabotaging the peace process, calling on US and other global powers to keep an eye on such elements.
The foreign minister said that the exercise is one that will test our patience but that there is no other solution but to remain steadfast in the pursuit of peace.
He regretted that for the past 19 years, the country had been witnessing such incidents and noted that the people of Aghanistan truly desire peace.
“The attack is extremely regrettable and condemnable,” he said, adding that the Taliban had denied any involvement in it.
“Those who seek to disrupt peace are in Afghanistan and also outside of it,” he said, without elaborating further.
The foreign minister pledged Pakistan’s support in whatever assistance it can provide.
At least 27 people were killed when gunmen attacked a ceremony in the Afghan capital Kabul on Friday where a top Afghan political leader, Abdullah Abdullah, was present but escaped unharmed.
“Twenty-seven bodies and 29 wounded transported by … ambulance so far,” Wahidullah Mayar, the health ministry spokesman, told Reuters, adding that the number could increase.
The Taliban said in a statement they were not involved in the attack.
“The attack started with a boom, apparently a rocket landed in the area, Abdullah and some other politicians … escaped the attack unhurt,” Abdullah’s spokesperson, Fraidoon Kwazoon, who was also present, told Reuters by telephone.
The gathering marked the anniversary of the death of Abdul Ali Mazari, an ethnic Hazara leader who was killed in 1995 after being taken prisoner by the Taliban.
Abdullah, runner-up in the last three Afghan presidential elections, each of which he disputed, has served as chief executive of a coalition government since 2014 and is also a former foreign minister.
Broadcaster Tolo News showed live footage of people running for cover as gunfire was heard.
President Ashraf Ghani tweeted that the attack was “a crime against humanity and against the national unity of Afghanistan”. - Reuters