A gruesome video of a Kabul blast site Sunday, showing bloodied children standing over an unconscious woman, quickly went viral and sparked fresh outrage in an already war-weary Afghanistan.
At least two people were killed and five others wounded in the explosion, which appeared to target security forces in the Afghan capital, said Kabul police spokesman Ferdaws Faramarz.
The video, taken in the immediate aftermath, showed bodies bloodied and blackened lying on the asphalt, while two small children can be seen crying over an unconscious woman.
The two children – one of them covered in blood – can be heard screaming. At one point, one says, “Mother, get up!”
The man filming the video can be heard telling the children to “calm down” as the woman is carried away.
Reaction to the video was immediate, with social media users in Afghanistan expressing horror over the images. The hashtag “Mother get up!” in the Dari language quickly started trending.
“Unbearable to watch this mother & her children like this,” wrote one Twitter user, Ejaz Malikzada.
“How could those who commit this justifies their action to their own souls while you see kids crying for their injured mother? This needs to STOP,” said Fawzia Koofi, a member of the government’s peace team negotiating with the Taliban.
The Kabul police spokesman later confirmed the two children had been treated for light injuries while the woman in the video was seriously wounded.
No group claimed responsibility for the attack, but Afghan security forces are regularly targeted by the Taliban.
The Taliban denied any involvement.
Kabul, along with urban areas across Afghanistan, have been rocked by frequent explosions on an almost daily basis amid the fraught peace talks between the government and the Taliban.
The surge in violence has led US President Joe Biden’s administration to launch a review of a deal signed between Washington and the Taliban last year during Donald Trump’s presidency.
That agreement paved the way for the withdrawal of all US troops in the coming months and kickstarted the peace talks between the Kabul government and the insurgents.
Biden is reviewing whether to stick to a looming May 1 deadline to withdraw the remaining 2,500 US troops or risk a bloody backlash from the insurgents by staying.