Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry says at least 80 people were killed and 231 others wounded in two bomb blasts in the capital Kabul.
The blasts were carried out at the Deh Mazang Square, where thousands of Hazara demonstrators had gathered from early morning in protest against a controversial power line project.
The so-called Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the bombing.
According to police, one of the attackers successfully detonated his explosive, while the second one only managed to defectively explode himself. A third assailant was shot dead by security forces before he could detonate his vest.
In a statement, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said he was “deeply saddened” by the carnage, adding that the casualties included security officials.
The Taliban, a fierce enemy of IS, had issued a statement denying any involvement. “We would never take part in any incident that divides the Afghan people,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.
The Hazara community, the poorest of Afghanistan’s ethnic groups, accounts for about nine percent of Afghanistan’s population and is the country’s third-largest minority.