Convoys of gun-wielding men terrorised Kabul Sunday as they marked the death anniversary of a famed anti-Soviet and anti-Taliban resistance leader by firing bullets into the air and forcing terrified residents indoors.
The commemoration of Ahmad Shah Massoud, dubbed the Lion of Panjshir, comes as the Afghan capital remains tense following a spate of deadly attacks in the city, including a double bombing at a wrestling club on Wednesday, that have fuelled criticism of the government.
The gunmen were purported supporters of Massoud, the charismatic Tajik commander who led resistance to the Soviet occupation in the 1980s and to the 1996-2001 Taliban regime.
Massoud was killed two days before the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington that precipitated the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
Dozens of cars and pickups carrying men armed with heavy weapons and waving flags drove around the city, blaring loud sirens. AFP journalists could hear frequent bursts of gunfire.
At least 13 people were wounded by falling bullets, health ministry spokesman Waheed Majroh told journalists.
Sunday's blatant lawlessness and the lack of response from security forces ignited a firestorm of angry posts on social media from Kabul residents fed up with the constant violence and the government's inability to protect civilians.
"Why do people have to endure this every year on Sept 9th? Why is the #Afghan govt allowing this?" Shafi Sharifi posted on Twitter.
Ziaulhaq Amarkhil tweeted: "Where is rule of law?"
But security forces claimed they had averted a suicide attack after shooting dead a man they say had been planning to blow himself up near a convoy of Massoud supporters.
"No one among security forces or civilians were harmed in the incident," Afghanistan's intelligence agency the National Directorate of Security said in a statement.
A double bombing at a wrestling club in a heavily Shiite neighbourhood on Wednesday killed at least 26 people, including two journalists, and wounded 91.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility.