Dozens feared dead in Afghanistan wedding suicide blast

Afghanistan
It could be the worst bombing to hit Kabul this year. Photo credit: Getty

A suicide bomb blast has ripped through a wedding party in Afghanistan's capital and dozens of people were killed or wounded, a government official says.

More than 1000 people had been invited to the celebration on Saturday, one witness said, as fears grew that it could be the deadliest attack in Kabul this year.

Interior Ministry spokesman Nusrat Rahimi told The Associated Press the attacker set off explosives among the wedding participants. Both the Taliban and a local affiliate of the Islamic State group carry out bloody attacks in the capital.

The blast occurred near the stage where musicians were and "all the youths, children and all the people who were there were killed", witness Gul Mohammad said. One of the wounded, Mohammad Toofan, said that "a lot of guests were martyred".

Officials weren't expected to release a toll until daytime on Sunday (local time).

"There are so many dead and wounded," said Ahmad Omid, a survivor who said about 1200 guests had been invited to the wedding for his father's cousin. "I was with the groom in the other room when we heard the blast and then I couldn't find anyone. Everyone was lying all around the hall."

Outside a local hospital, families wailed. Others were covered in blood.

The blast at the Dubai City wedding hall in western Kabul, a part of the city that many in the minority Shiite Hazara community call home, shattered a period of relative calm.

Kabul's huge, brightly lit wedding halls are centres of community life in a city weary of decades of war, with thousands of dollars spent on a single evening.

While the Taliban earlier this year pledged to do more to protect civilians, it continues to stage deadly attacks against Afghan security forces and others in what is seen by many as an attempt to strengthen its position at the negotiating table.

The conflict continues to take a horrific toll on civilians. Last year more than 3800, including more than 900 children, were killed in Afghanistan by the Taliban, US and allied forces, the Islamic State affiliate and other actors, the United Nations said.

Reuters

 

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