Afghan Taliban strongly condemn deadly suicide blast in Kabul targeting civilians

Afghan Taliban strongly condemn deadly suicide blast in Kabul targeting civilians
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*KABUL: *A suicide bomber killed more than 60 people and wounded scores, including women and children, as they celebrated a wedding in the Afghan capital, authorities said on Sunday, the deadliest attack in Kabul in recent months.

The Islamic State group on Sunday claimed responsibility the attack.

IS said one of its fighters blew himself up at a “large gathering” in Kabul while others “detonated a parked explosives-laden vehicle” when security forces arrived, in a statement posted on the Telegram messaging app.

The blast, which took place late on Saturday in the city’s west, came as Washington and the Taliban are in the final stages of a deal to reduce the US military presence in Afghanistan .

The Taliban denied any involvement in the attack.

Interior ministry spokesperson Nasrat Rahimi said at least 63 people had been killed and 182 injured. “Among the wounded are women and children,” Rahimi said. Earlier he stated that the blast was caused by a suicide bomber.

Afghan weddings are epic and vibrant affairs, with hundreds or often thousands of guests celebrating for hours inside industrial-scale wedding halls where the men are usually segregated from the women and children.

In the aftermath of Saturday’s 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 wedding was believed to be a Shia gathering.

Mohammad Farhag, who had been at the wedding, told *AFP* he had been in the women’s section when he heard a huge blast in the men’s area.

“Everyone ran outside shouting and crying,” he said.

“For about 20 minutes the hall was full of smoke. Almost everyone in the men’s section is either dead or wounded.”

Two hours after the blast, he said bodies were still being removed from the hall.

A mobile phone video which swiftly went viral shortly after the attack showed one man outside the hall with bloodstains on his clothes, his voice breaking as he explained he was searching for his brothers.

One guest who spoke to *Tolo News* said some 1,200 people had been invited.

The attack sent a wave of grief through a city grimly accustomed to atrocities. - APP / AFP

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