close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
AFP
August 19, 2019

Daesh suicide bomber kills 63 at Kabul wedding

Top Story

AFP
August 19, 2019

KABUL/ISLAMABAD: Joy and celebration turned into horror and carnage when an Islamic State (Daesh) suicide bomber targeted a packed Afghan wedding hall, killing at least 63 people in the deadliest attack to rock Kabul in months, officials and witnesses said on Sunday.

The massive blast, which took place late Saturday in west Kabul, came as Washington and the Taliban finalise a deal to reduce the US military presence in Afghanistan and hopefully build a roadmap to a ceasefire. While the attack is termed bid to derail Afghan peace process.

The groom recalled greeting smiling guests in the afternoon, before seeing their bodies being carried out hours ater. The attack "changed my happiness to sorrow", the young man, who gave his name as Mirwais, told local TV station Tolo News. "My family, my bride are in shock, they cannot even speak. My bride keeps fainting," he said. "I lost my brother, I lost my friends, I lost my relatives. I will never see happiness in my life again."

The Taliban denied any involvement in the attack.

Interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said a suicide bomber carried out the attack, with at least 63 people killed and 182 injured. "Among the wounded are women and children," Rahimi said. Afghan weddings are epic and vibrant affairs, with hundreds or often thousands of guests celebrating for hours inside industrial-scale wedding halls where men are usually segregated from women and children. "The wedding guests were dancing and celebrating the party when the blast happened," recounted Munir Ahmad, 23, who was seriously injured and whose cousin was among the dead. "Following the explosion, there was total chaos. Everyone was screaming and crying for their loved ones," he said from his bed in a local hospital, where he was being treated for shrapnel wounds.

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 huge blast ripped parts of the ceiling off. Wedding guest Hameed Quresh said the young bride and groom were saying their vows when the bomb went off. "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.

Another guest told Tolo that some 1,200 people had been invited. With low security, weddings are seen as easy targets. The attack sent a wave of grief through a city grimly accustomed to atrocities and garnered broad condemnation.

President Ashraf Ghani called it "barbaric", while Afghanistan’s chief executive Abdullah Abdullah described it as a "crime against humanity". US Ambassador to Afghanistan John Bass called it an act of "extreme depravity".

The attack underscores both the inadequacy of Afghanistan’s security forces and the scale of the problem they face. While the police and army claim they prevent most bombings from ever happening, the fact remains that insurgents pull off horrific attacks with chilling regularity. The issue also goes to the heart of a prospective deal between the US and the Taliban that would see Washington begin to withdraw its approximately 14,000 soldiers from Afghanistan.

Saturday’s attack suggests any such promise would be tough to keep.

The "Taliban cannot absolve themselves of blame, for they provide platform for terrorists," Ghani said. Few believe such a deal will bring quick peace and Afghans fear the Taliban could return, eroding hard-won rights for women in particular and leading to a spiralling civil war.

Meanwhile, in the northern province of Balkh, 11 members of the same family were killed when their car hit a roadside bomb, officials said. The provincial governor blamed the Taliban for planting the device.

PPI adds: Pakistan has strongly condemned the heinous bomb attack targeting civilians during a marriage function in Kabul on Saturday.

Foreign Office spokesperson, in a statement, said, “We express our heartfelt condolences to the families of innocent victims and pray for the maghfirah of the deceased and for early recovery of many others who were seriously injured in the attack.” He said Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations which is a common threat for the entire region and must be defeated together.

Topstory minus plus

Opinion minus plus

Newspost minus plus

Editorial minus plus

National minus plus

World minus plus

Sports minus plus

Business minus plus

Karachi minus plus

Lahore minus plus

Islamabad minus plus

Peshawar minus plus