Published: Sun, August 18, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Afghanistan: 40 Killed, Several Injured in Wedding Hall Blast in Kabul

Afghanistan: 40 Killed, Several Injured in Wedding Hall Blast in Kabul

Wedding halls have become big business in Kabul as the Afghan economy slowly picks up and families spend more on celebrations. Then, in a flash, he detonated his explosives-filled vest, killing dozens - and Afghanistan grieved again.

Kabul's huge, brightly lit wedding halls are centers of community life in a city tired of decades of war, with thousands of dollars spent on a single evening. Pictures posted on social media showed bodies strewn amid overturned table and chairs at the wedding hall, with dark blood stains on the carpet.

The Taliban denied involvement in that attack, and IS did not claim responsibility.

Both the Taliban and the local affiliate of the Islamic State group have carried out large-scale attacks in the Afghan capital.

Not less than 180 people were wounded and are now receiving treatment with numerous victims confirmed to be women and kids. The Taliban have been fighting to expel foreign forces and re-establish an Islamic state since they were ousted in October 2001, weeks after the September 11 attacks on the United States.

The shoes of victims are seen outside a damaged wedding hall after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan August 18, 2019.

The attacker set off the explosives among the roughly 1,200 guests at the event at the Dubai City wedding hall in Kabul, Nusrat Rahimi, a spokesperson for the Interior Ministry, told The Associated Press.

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

Messages of shock poured in on Sunday. A deliberate attack on civilians "can only be described as a cowardly act of terror", United Nations envoy to Afghanistan Tadamichi Yamamoto said.

Saturday night's explosion came a few days after the end of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha and just before Afghanistan marks its 100th independence day on Monday.

The blast comes at a greatly uncertain time in Afghanistan as the United States and the Taliban near a deal to end a almost 18-year war, America's longest conflict. Afghanistan's government has been sidelined in those talks as the Taliban refuse to negotiate with what it calls a US puppet.

Top issues include a US troop withdrawal and Taliban guarantees they would not allow Afghanistan to become a launching pad for global terror attacks. In that, the Islamic State affiliate's increasingly threatening presence is the top USA concern.

IS has claimed some of the most bloody attacks in Afghan cities over the past couple of years, with some aimed at the Shi'ite minority.

Sediq Seddiqi, spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani, said his government was waiting to hear results of President Donald Trump's meeting on Friday with his national security team about the negotiations. Several of his colleagues remained missing.

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