Monday, 11 November, 2019

Dozens Reported Killed, Wounded By Bomb At Kabul Wedding Reception

Afghan health workers carry a wounded man into the hospital after the attack Afghan health workers carry a wounded man into the hospital after the attack
Patty Aguilar | 18 August, 2019, 09:34

A suicide bomber has blown himself up inside a wedding hall in the Afghan capital Kabul, killing "dozens" of people and injuring many others, local officials and witnesses say.

On Friday, Ahmadullah Azkhundzada, brother of Afghan Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhundzada, was among four people killed in a blast at a mosque in Pakistan's southwestern Balochistan, a senior official with the provincial government said.

Top issues include a USA troop withdrawal and Taliban guarantees not to let Afghanistan become a launching pad for global terror attacks.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, which went off Saturday evening in the men's reception area at the Dubai City wedding hall in western Kabul. Pictures posted on social media showed bodies strewn amid overturned table and chairs at the wedding hall, with dark blood stains on the carpet. A year ago more than 3,800, including more than 900 children, were killed in Afghanistan by the Taliban, US and allied forces, the Islamic State affiliate and other actors, the United Nations said.

The Taliban denied it was behind the attack. Witnesses said they had seen bodies.

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"Several of our waiters were killed or wounded", he added.

It's understood women and children were wounded during the incident.

Taliban and U.S. representatives have been holding peace talks in Qatar's capital, Doha, and both sides have reported progress. On Aug. 7, a Taliban auto bomb aimed at Afghan security forces detonated on the same road, killing 14 people and wounding 145 - majority women, children and other civilians. US President Donald Trump has made no secret of his desire for a US pullout from Afghanistan and an end to America's longest war. The militants have been refusing to negotiate with the Afghan government until a timetable for the United States withdrawal is agreed upon.

A waiter at the hall, Sayed Agha Shah, said "everybody was running" after the blast. Under the expected deal, the Taliban, in exchange for a USA commitment on a withdrawal, would guarantee Afghanistan would not be a sanctuary for militants to expand and plot new attacks, both sides have said.

The Taliban would also begin negotiations with an Afghan delegation on a framework for peace including an eventual ceasefire. All responses will be confidential.

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