Bomb blast at wedding party kills 63 and injures 182 more
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Sixty-three people have died and 182 are injured after an explosion ripped through a wedding hall in the Afghan capital of Kabul.
The blast happened at the Dubai City venue in the west of the city, which is home to many members of the Shiite Hazara community, with hundreds thought to be inside.
The interior ministry confirmed the death toll, which a presidential spokesman said was a “heinous crime” and Kabul’s deadliest attack this year.
Sediq Seddiqi, spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani, said on Twitter: “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?!!”
According to guests present, there were around 1,200 people invited to the wedding.
Gul Mohammad told The Associate Press the attacker set off the explosives near the stage where children had gathered.
Another guest, Ahmad Omid, said: “I was with the groom in the other room when we heard the blast and then I couldn’t find anyone.
“Everyone was lying all around the hall. There are so many dead and wounded victims.”
There is as yet no word on who was behind the blast, but Sunni Muslim militants including the Taliban and Islamic State have repeatedly attacked Shiite minorities in Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan over the years.
Just three weeks ago, a Taliban suicide bomber killed 14 people and wounded 145 in an attack in western Kabul.
That incident came despite expectations of a deal between the terror group and the US, with both having reported progress in talks that would see American troops withdraw from Afghanistan in exchange for a security guarantee from the insurgents.
Most of the 20,000 foreign troops stationed in Afghanistan are from the US, as part of a NATO mission to train, assist and advise Afghan forces in their battle against terrorist threats.
The conflict continues to take a horrific toll on civilians, with more than 3,800 – including 900 children – killed by the US and allied forces, the Taliban, IS and others last year, according to the United Nations.