KABUL, Afghanistan—An explosion ripped through a wedding party on a busy Saturday night in Afghanistan’s capital and dozens of people were killed or wounded, a government official said. Hundreds of people were believed to be inside.
Interior Ministry spokesman Nusrat Rahimi told The Associated Press there was no immediate information on the cause of the blast. Both the Taliban and a local affiliate of the ISIS terrorist group carry out bloody attacks in the capital.
The blast at the Dubai City wedding hall in western Kabul, a part of the city that many in the minority Shiite Hazara community call home, shattered a period of relative calm.
On Aug. 7, a Taliban car bomb aimed at Afghan security forces detonated on the same road in a busy west Kabul neighborhood, killing 14 people and wounding 145—most of them women, children and other civilians.
Kabul’s huge, brightly lit wedding halls are centers of community life in a city weary of decades of war, with thousands of dollars spent on a single evening.
“Devastated by the news of a suicide attack inside a wedding hall in Kabul. A heinous crime against our people; how is it possible to train a human and ask him to go and blow himself (up) inside a wedding?!!” Sediq Seddiqi, spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani, said in a Twitter post.
Devastated by the news of a suicide attack inside a wedding hall in Kabul. A heinous crime against our people; how is it possible to train a human and ask him to go and blow himself inside a wedding?!! #Kabulbleeds Why this enmity against innocent Afghans!!!
— Sediq Sediqqi (@SediqSediqqi) August 17, 2019
The wedding halls also serve as meeting places, and in November at least 55 people were killed when a suicide bomber sneaked into a Kabul wedding hall where hundreds of Muslim religious scholars and clerics had gathered. The Taliban denied involvement in an attack that bore the hallmarks of the ISIS affiliate.
Saturday night’s explosion came a few days after the end of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, with Kabul residents visiting family and friends, and just before Afghanistan marks its 100th independence day on Monday.
By Rahim Faiez