At least 63 people have been killed and scores wounded in an explosion targeting a wedding in the Afghan capital, according to officials, in the deadliest attack in Kabul this year.
The suicide blast took place on Saturday night in the men’s reception area of 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, said Nasrat Rahimi, a spokesman for the interior ministry.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) group claimed responsibility for the attack on Sunday.
The blast comes 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, calling Saturday’s blast “forbidden and unjustifiable”, but Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said that the group “cannot absolve themselves of blame, for they provide [a] platform for terrorists”.
In a series of tweets on Sunday, Ghani strongly condemned the “inhumane attack” and called for an “extraordinary security meeting to review and prevent such security lapses”.
I strongly condemn the inhumane attack on the wedding hall in Kabul last night. My top priority for now is to reach out to the families of victims of this barbaric attack. On behalf of the nation I send my heartfelt condolences to the families of those who were martyred.
— Ashraf Ghani (@ashrafghani) August 18, 2019