Suicide blast at Kabul wedding: Toll rises to 80; deadliest attack in Afghanistan's capital since January 2018 which claimed 103 lives

The bloodshed comes as the US and the Taliban continue to seek an agreement that would see the US reduce its troop presence

Agence France-Presse August 21, 2019 15:32:38 IST
Suicide blast at Kabul wedding: Toll rises to 80; deadliest attack in Afghanistan's capital since January 2018 which claimed 103 lives
  • The death toll from Islamic State attack on a Kabul wedding on weekend has reached at least 80

  • 'Some injured people with critical wounds who were taken to hospital have lost their lives', said interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi

  • The bloodshed comes as the US and the Taliban continue to seek an agreement that would see the US reduce its troop presence

Kabul: The death toll from an Islamic State attack on a Kabul wedding at the weekend has reached at least 80, an official said on Wednesday, as the Afghan capital still reels from the deadliest blast in more than a year.

Suicide blast at Kabul wedding Toll rises to 80 deadliest attack in Afghanistans capital since January 2018 which claimed 103 lives

File image of Afghan police men stand guard outside the wedding hall after an explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan. AP

A suicide bomber targeted a packed Afghan wedding hall in west Kabul Saturday as celebrations were in full swing. Authorities said the initial death toll was at least 63, with more than 180 people wounded. "The death toll has now risen to 80," interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi told AFP.

"Some injured people with critical wounds who were taken to hospital have lost their lives." It was Kabul's deadliest attack since January 2018 when the Taliban packed an ambulance with explosives and detonated it in a crowded street, killing 103 people, according to an official toll.

The blast was so powerful that it blew much of the roof off the massive wedding hall, where hundreds of guests had gathered. Saturday's attack on the mainly Shia wedding was claimed by IS, the hardline Sunni jihadists with a growing footprint in parts of Afghanistan. Among the dead was a musician who had been performing on a stage near the blast.

The bloodshed comes as the US and the Taliban continue to seek an agreement that would see the US reduce its troop presence after nearly 18 years of war in return for the insurgents providing security guarantees. But Saturday's explosion highlights how easy it is for a rogue actor to mount an attack, and how difficult it would be for the Taliban to honour any guarantee.

On Tuesday, Zalmay Khalilzad, the US peace envoy for Afghanistan, said he was ready to resume a new round of talks with the Taliban as he headed back to Qatar on a mission to end America's longest war. The State Department said he will then head to Afghanistan, where he plans to help prepare the ground for planned talks between the Taliban and Afghan government.

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