'Chaotic scenes' after scores of people killed and wounded in Kabul blasts targeting Shia centre
Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish says an unknown number of suicide attackers set off an explosion outside the centre before storming it. They then set off explosive devices in the basement of the building where scores of people had gathered to mark the December 1979 invasion of Afghanistan by the former Soviet Union, he said.
Mohammad Hasan Rezayee, a university student who attended the ceremony, told Tolo News he had suffered face burns in the blast.
"After the blast there was fire and smoke inside the building and everyone was pleading for help," he said.
The centre is located in the Shia-dominated Dasht-e-Barchi neighbourhood in the west of the capital.
There were chaotic scenes at the Istiqlal hospital where ambulances brought victims, including women and children. Many of them were suffering severe burns to their faces and bodies, as well as shrapnel wounds.
Anguished relatives searching for their loved ones inside the medical facility, slapping their heads in fury as they cried and cursed the government for seemingly being unable to end the regular carnage on their streets.
Some were so distraught they crawled on the ground pulling their hair.
An AFP reporter saw badly burned bodies lying on the floor in a room inside the hospital and wooden coffins being delivered so families could take away their dead loved ones.
The Islamic State group (IS) claimed responsibility for the gruesome assault, which happened in the same building as the Afghan Voice Agency, a media outlet which earlier reports had suggested could have been the target.
Friday's assault comes days after a suicide bomber killed six civilians in an attack near an Afghan intelligence agency compound in the city, which was claimed by IS.
Afghanistan has the highest number of mine victims in the world, which along with other roadside bombs kill or wound an estimated 140 people every month.