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Al Jazeera, August 18, 2019

Suicide bomber kills 63 and wounds 182 in bloody attack on packed wedding reception in Kabul (PHOTOS)

Witnesses said members of Shi'ite Muslim community were holding the wedding when venue was bombed


Suicide bomber kills 63 and wounds 182 in bloody attack on packed wedding reception in Kabul
An Afghan woman who has lost her husband and two sons grieves at the door of the hospital, after a suicide bomber wearing a suicide vest walked in to the wedding reception. (Photo: EPA)

At least 63 people have been killed and scores wounded in an explosion targeting a wedding in the Afghan capital, officials said on Sunday, the deadliest attack in Kabul this year.

The suicide blast took place on Saturday evening in the men's reception area at the Dubai City wedding hall in western Kabul, in a minority Shia neighbourhood, packed with people celebrating a marriage.

Women and children were among the casualties, interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said on Sunday.

Witnesses said members of the Shia Muslim community were holding the wedding reception.

Suicide bomber kills 63 and wounds 182 in bloody attack on packed wedding reception in Kabul
An Afghan man mourns near the body of his brother after he was killed in an explosion at wedding hall in Kabul (Photo: AP)

The attack came as the Taliban and the United States are trying to negotiate an agreement on the withdrawal of US forces in exchange for a Taliban commitment on security and peace talks with Afghanistan's US-backed government.

The Taliban denied any involvement in the attack, calling the blast "forbidden and unjustifiable".

Inhumane

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani strongly condemned the "inhumane attack" in a Tweet on Sunday, adding that the "Taliban cannot absolve themselves of blame, for they provide platform for terrorists".

In the aftermath of the attack images from inside the hall showed blood-stained bodies on the ground along with pieces of flesh and torn clothes, hats, sandals and bottles of mineral water.

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 told the Associated Press news agency.

One of the wounded, Mohammad Toofan, said that "a lot of guests were martyred."

"There are so many dead and wounded," said Ahmad Omid, a survivor, adding that about 1,200 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."

Sunni Muslim armed groups including the Taliban and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) group have repeatedly attacked the Shia Hazara minorities in Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan over the years.

Fighters have periodically struck Afghan weddings, which are seen as easy targets because they frequently lack rigorous security precautions.

On July 12, at least six people were killed when a suicide bomber attacked a wedding ceremony in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar. ISIL, which has a growing footprint in the region, claimed the blast.

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

The latest attack shattered more than a week of relative calm in the Afghan capital.

On August 7, a Taliban car bomb aimed at Afghan security forces detonated on the same road, killing 14 people and wounding 145 - most of them women, children and other civilians.

Messages of shock poured in on Sunday. "Such acts are beyond condemnation," the European Union mission to Afghanistan said.

"This heinous and inhumane attack is indeed a crime against humanity," Afghanistan's Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said.

Expectations are rising for a deal in which the United States would start withdrawing its approximately 14,000 soldiers from Afghanistan after a two-decade war that has turned into a stalemate.

In return, the Taliban would guarantee Afghanistan would not be a sanctuary for militants to expand and plot new attacks, both sides have said.

The Taliban are also expected to make a commitment to open power-sharing talks with the US-backed government and agree to a ceasefire.


Suicide bomber kills 63 and wounds 182 in bloody attack on packed wedding reception in Kabul
Afghan health workers carry a wounded child into the hospital after the blast in the capital city of Kabul last night. (Photo: EPA)

Suicide bomber kills 63 and wounds 182 in bloody attack on packed wedding reception in Kabul
Afghan men carry a wounded child into the hospital after the blast in the capital city of Kabul last night. (Photo: EPA)

Suicide bomber kills 63 and wounds 182 in bloody attack on packed wedding reception in Kabul
Afghan health workers carry a wounded child into the hospital after the blast in the capital city of Kabul last night. (Photo: EPA)

Suicide bomber kills 63 and wounds 182 in bloody attack on packed wedding reception in Kabul
The aftermath as tables and chairs are thrown over. (Photo: DailyMail)

Suicide bomber kills 63 and wounds 182 in bloody attack on packed wedding reception in Kabul
People gather around one of the 182 people who were brought to the Wazir Akbar Khan hospital after being injured in the blast. (Photo: AFP)

Suicide bomber kills 63 and wounds 182 in bloody attack on packed wedding reception in Kabul
Injured men receive treatment in hospital after sustaining wounds from a blast at a wedding hall in Kabul. (Photo: Mohammad Ismail/Reuters)

Suicide bomber kills 63 and wounds 182 in bloody attack on packed wedding reception in Kabul
A wounded man receives treatment at the Wazir Akbar Khan hospital after the deadly bomb rocked the wedding reception in west Kabul last night. (Photo: AFP)

Suicide bomber kills 63 and wounds 182 in bloody attack on packed wedding reception in Kabul
The shoes of victims are seen outside a damaged wedding hall after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday, August 18. (Photo: Reuters)

Suicide bomber kills 63 and wounds 182 in bloody attack on packed wedding reception in Kabul
Afghan men offer funeral prayers over the coffins of seven of the 63 people killed as funerals are held throughout today. (Photo: Reuters)

Suicide bomber kills 63 and wounds 182 in bloody attack on packed wedding reception in Kabul
In the aftermath of the bomb people are sent in to the wedding venue to survey the destruction following the overnight attack. (Photo: EPA)

Suicide bomber kills 63 and wounds 182 in bloody attack on packed wedding reception in Kabul
Women and children were among the casualties after the explosion at a west Kabul wedding hall, according to interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi. Pictured, the damage this morning. (Photo: AFP)

Suicide bomber kills 63 and wounds 182 in bloody attack on packed wedding reception in Kabul
The car of the newly married couple is still parked outside the wedding hall after a deadly bomb killed 63 revellers. (Photo: AFP)

Suicide bomber kills 63 and wounds 182 in bloody attack on packed wedding reception in Kabul
Policemen stood guard outside the wedding hall in the wake of the attack which killed 63 people and injured at least 182. (Photo: AFP)

Category: Taliban/ISIS/Terrorism, HR Violations - Views: 939