Published: Mon, August 19, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

63 killed in Kabul hotel blast

63 killed in Kabul hotel blast

The group, in a statement on the messaging website Telegram, claimed responsibility for the attack at a west Kabul wedding hall, in a minority Shia neighbourhood, saying its bomber had been able to infiltrate the reception and detonate his explosives in the crowd of "infidels". The IS affiliate claimed that after the suicide bombing, a vehicle bomb was also detonated in the attack.

He also tweeted that he had ordered the relevant authorities to urgently assist in managing the wounded - and in response to the targeted attack said he has called an extraordinary security meeting to review and prevent such security lapses.

A sharply worded Taliban statement questions why the US failed to identify the attackers in advance. Shia Muslims are frequently targeted in Sunni-majority Afghanistan, particularly by the so-called Islamic State group, which is also active in Kabul but did not immediately issue any claim of responsibility.

The deal relies on the Taliban providing guarantees they will stop jihadist groups such as Al-Qaeda and IS from using Afghanistan as a safe haven.

"We fainted following the blast, and we don't know who brought us to the hospital", sobbed Quresh, who lost one brother and was himself wounded.

An Afghan man inspects a damaged wedding hall after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan August 18, 2019.

The blast at the wedding hall, known as Dubai City, shattered a period of relative calm in Kabul. "Such acts are beyond condemnation", the European Union mission to Afghanistan said. The group immediately distanced themselves from the attack and strongly condemned it. "An act of extreme depravity", U.S. Ambassador John Bass said.

Despite the negotiations, the Taliban has continued to engage in attacks.

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The U.S. envoy in talks with the Taliban, Zalmay Khalilzad, on Sunday said the peace process should be accelerated to help Afghanistan defeat the IS affiliate. That would include intra-Afghan talks on the country's future.

Graeme Smith, a consultant for the International Crisis Group, said Islamic State is fearful of a peace deal because it is "getting hammered on the battlefield" by both USA -backed government forces and the Taliban and "does not want to see its two biggest enemies make peace and join forces against them".

But there are concerns among Afghan officials and USA national security aides that Afghanistan could plunge into a new civil war that could see a return of Taliban rule and global militants, including IS, finding a refuge. He was briefed on Friday on the progress of the U.S. -Taliban talks, of which few details have emerged.

But Ghani on Monday asserted that the Taliban, whom the USA now hopes will help to curb the IS affiliate's rise, are just as much to blame for the wedding attack.

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump on Sunday said Afghanistan "can't be a laboratory for terror" as discussions over a potential United States withdrawal from the country persist after almost 20 years at war.

A spokesperson for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani called the attack a "heinous crime against our people", Glasse says.

Top issues in the talks have included a US troop withdrawal and Taliban guarantees they would not allow Afghanistan to become a launching pad for global terror attacks.

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