63 people were killed and scores wounded after a bomb exploded at a wedding hall in Kabul. Officials have described it as the deadliest attack in Kabul this year.
The suicide blast occurred on Saturday evening at around 22:40 local time (18:10 GMT) in the men’s reception area of the Dubai City hall that was packed with people celebrating a wedding. The attack occurred in western Kabul, a minority Shia neighbourhood.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) group have claimed responsibility for the Saturday attack. In a statement, ISIS said that one of their fighters blew himself up while others “detonated a parked explosives-laden vehicle” at the arrival of emergency services.
The Taliban has denied any involvement in the attack and strongly condemned it. The bombing comes at a time when the Taliban and the United States are in the process of negotiating an agreement that will see the U.S withdrawing its forces. In turn, the Taliban will promise peace and security talks with a U.S backed Afghanistan government.
President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack, terming it as “barbaric”, “forbidden and unjustifiable”. He called out the Taliban, saying that the group “cannot absolve themselves of blame, for they provided platform for terrorists.” In a series of tweets, President Ghani called for an extraordinary security meeting to review the recent security lapses.
Afghan weddings are usually held in large areas with lots of people, with men being segregated from the women and children.
While speaking to a local TV, the groom, who gave his name as Mirwais, remarked that he and his bride were in shock and that she could barely speak.
Over the years, Sunni Muslim groups, including the Taliban and ISIL, have conducted attacks on the Shia Hazara minorities in Palestine and Afghanistan. Afghan weddings have been targeted over time because they attack large groups and fewer security measures are taken.
On July 12, a suicide bomber attacked a wedding in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar. ISIL claimed the attack that killed 6 people.
In November 2018, an explosion in a wedding in Kabul killed at least 40 people.
Tensions have been high in Afghanistan despite the peace negotiations between the U.S and the Taliban. Both sides have reported progress. U.S President Donald Trump tweeted that “both sides are looking to make a deal – if possible.”
The Taliban says that they would also start negotiating with an Afghan delegation about an eventual ceasefire but only after a timeframe for U.S withdrawal of troops is agreed upon.
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