63 Killed, 182 Injured in Kabul Wedding Reception Suicide Attack

Published August 18th, 2019 - 09:00 GMT
A wounded man receives treatment as people gather around him at the Wazir Akbar Khan hospital after a deadly bomb blast in a wedding hall in Kabul on August 18, 2019. (AFP/ File Photo)
A wounded man receives treatment as people gather around him at the Wazir Akbar Khan hospital after a deadly bomb blast in a wedding hall in Kabul on August 18, 2019. (AFP/ File Photo)
Highlights
A Kabul emergency hospital said that 182 wounded people had been brought in to receive treatment.

A suicide bomber killed 63 and wounded 182 at a wedding reception in the Afghan capital Kabul last night.

Women and children were among the casualties after the explosion at a west Kabul wedding hall, according to interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi.   

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, which went off in the men's reception area of a west Kabul wedding hall - and the Taliban have condemned the blast.

But President Ashraf Ghani said the militants could not escape blame for the 'barbaric' attack.

'The Taliban cannot absolve themselves of blame for they provide platform for terrorists,' he said on Twitter. 

Pictures on social media from the scene of the Kabul blast showed bodies strewn amid overturned tables and chairs at the wedding hall, with dark blood stains on the carpet.

And this morning the shoes of the victims have been piled up outside the venue, as relatives and friends of those who died say prayers ahead of their burials. 

Resident Mohammad Hasan rushed to the scene after the blast rocked the neighbourhood.

'I saw many women and children screaming and crying,' he said. 

Sunni Muslim militants including the Taliban and Islamic State have repeatedly attacked the Shi'ite Hazara minorities in Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan over the years.

The blast follows a bomb attack on a mosque in Pakistan on Friday that killed a brother of Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhundzada. No one claimed responsibility for that blast, which killed four people and wounded 20. 

Wedding halls have become a big business in Kabul as the Afghan economy slowly picks up and families spend more on celebrations. Big, brightly lit halls now line some suburban streets of the city.

At least 40 people were killed in an explosion at a wedding hall in Kabul in November.

Three weeks ago, a Taliban suicide bomber killed 14 people and wounded 145, also in western Kabul, in an attack that the government said raised questions about the militants' commitment to peace despite expectations of a deal with the US.

The US and Taliban insurgents have reported progress in talks on an agreement centered on a US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in exchange for a security guarantee from the Taliban. 

Wedding halls have become a big business in Kabul as the Afghan economy slowly picks up and families spend more on celebrations. Big, brightly lit halls now line some suburban streets of the city.


At least 40 people were killed in an explosion at a wedding hall in Kabul in November.

Three weeks ago, a Taliban suicide bomber killed 14 people and wounded 145, also in western Kabul, in an attack that the government said raised questions about the militants' commitment to peace despite expectations of a deal with the US.

The US and Taliban insurgents have reported progress in talks on an agreement centered on a US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in exchange for a security guarantee from the Taliban. 

U.S. President Donald Trump has made no secret of his desire for a U.S. pullout from Afghanistan and an end to America's longest war. Top U.S. national security advisers briefed Trump on Friday on the negotiations.

The Afghan government has not been involved in the talks because the militants refuse to deal with an administration they see as a US puppet.

There are concerns among Afghan officials and U.S. national security aides about the talks with fears Afghanistan could plunge into a new civil war that could see a return of Taliban rule and international militants finding a sanctuary.

Under the expected deal, the Taliban, in exchange for a U.S. commitment on a withdrawal, would guarantee Afghanistan would not be a sanctuary for militants to plot new attacks, both sides have said.

The Taliban are also expected to promise to open power-sharing talks with the government and agree to a ceasefire.

About 20,000 foreign troops, most of them American, are in Afghanistan as part of a US-led NATO mission to train, assist and advise Afghan forces.

Some US forces carry out counter-terrorism operations.

This article has been adapted from its original source.


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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