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Surviving a suicide bombing in a blood-stained, bright green dress

Shah Marai / AFP - Getty Images

Twelve-year-old Tarana Akbari after visiting her sister who was wounded in a bomb attack against Shiite Muslims, in a hospital in Kabul on Dec, 8. Akbari was photographed crying surrounded by injured and dead relatives after surviving a bomb blast on Dec. 6 near a shrine on the Shiite holy day of Ashura. Afghanistan said the death toll from bombings targeting the Shiite Muslim holy day of Ashura, which raised fears the nation could face an eruption of sectarian violence, has climbed to 80. The twin blasts have prompted fears that Afghanistan could see the sort of sectarian violence that has pitched Shiite against Sunni Muslims in Iraq and Pakistan.

Massoud Hossaini / AFP - Getty Images

Twelve-year-old Tarana Akbari kisses her grandfather's hand as she walks on the yard with the help of her uncle (right) outside her home in Kabul on Dec. 10.

By now, you may have already seen the photo of Tarana Akbari reacting as she is surrounded by the bodies of her relatives, victims of a suicide bombing on a Shiite Muslim shrine in Kabul, Afghanistan on Dec. 6. The photo of the 12-year-old girl in her bright green dress, covered in blood became the defining image of the day's attacks, which resulted in the deaths of over 70 people, both young and old. It appeared the next day on the front pages of The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.

We now know her story. Akbari spoke about her experience to Agence France Presse, recounting the horror and fear she felt last Tuesday. That morning, she especially chose her custom-made, bright green dress for the occasion of Ashura; green is a holy color in Islam. She says:

Suddenly there was an explosion. It was as if the world had overturned, as if all the walls had collapsed on me. Little by little, I started to recognize my relatives. I screamed and I was watching as they died.

Akbari lost seven relatives in the attacks, including her 7 year-old brother, and her two sisters are still in the hospital. She was also injured, according to the Telegraph, and spent three days in the hospital due to shrapnel wounds. When she went to visit her family's grave, she was walking with a limp.

Massoud Hossaini / AFP - Getty Images

Twelve-year-old Tarana Akbari looks on at her family grave yard in Kabul on Dec. 10.

The photographer, Massoud Hossaini, who took the picture of Akbari on Dec. 6, was also interviewed by AFP. When the bomb went off, he instinctively ran in the opposite direction of the fleeing people and ended up in the same spot where the suicide bomber had been, surrounded by dead bodies. Although in a state of shock, he knew he was witnessing something that needed to be documented:

I was hoping just to reflect the real pain to everybody else, to everybody who is watching my photos. Doesn't matter [if] they are Afghans, they are American, they are Muslim, they are Christian, they are whatever. Just wanted that they know what my people are feeling now.

While still haunted by the visions of that day, he felt some solace knowing his image was widely published and helped bring attention to the suffering in Afghanistan.

For more images from Afghanistan, see our slideshow: Afghanistan: Nation at a crossroads.