Reuters, Oct.19, 2002

Two Killed, 40 Hurt in Attack on Afghan Wedding

KABUL (Reuters) - Two people were killed and 40 wounded when two hand grenades were thrown into a wedding party at a popular picnic spot northwest of Kabul, state television reported on Saturday. Kabul Television said the incident happened on Friday night in the village of Murgh Geran, in Paghman district, about 12 miles from the capital.

The station quoted unconfirmed reports as saying that one of the dead was a singer in a band that had been playing at the wedding, while two other members of the band were wounded. The report said police had made no arrests, and had declined to give details of the incident.

Police could not be reached for comment. A spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force charged with helping maintain security in Kabul said he was not aware of the attack.

On Wednesday, a state-controlled newspaper reported that police in Shakardara district, about 10 miles from Kabul, had beaten two Afghan musicians and threatened to bomb their office in the capital for violating a local ban on music reminiscent of that imposed by the former Taliban regime.

The Anis Daily quoted the musicians as saying that the incident happened after policemen arrived at the party late on Monday evening.

The paper said the district was under the control of a commander of the Northern Alliance, which forms the backbone of President Hamid Karzai's Western-backed government.

The alliance is made up of several former mujahideen (holy warrior) groups which toppled the fundamentalist Taliban regime last year, helped by massive U.S. bombing.

Alliance elements in the government forced through a ban on women singing on state television after coming to power, but other restrictions of the Taliban era, such as a strict ban on any type of music, have been relaxed.

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