63 killed, 182 wounded in Kabul wedding blast: Official

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A suicide-bomb blast ripped through a wedding party on a busy Saturday night in Afghanistan’s capital, killing 63 people and wounding 182 others, a government official said. More than 1,000 people had been invited, one witness said.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. The Taliban earlier denied responsibility for the blast at a west Kabul wedding hall.

“Among the wounded are women and children,” Interior Ministry spokesman Nusrat Rahimi said.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said on Sunday the Taliban could not escape blame for a “barbaric” suicide bomb attack on a wedding hall in the capital, Kabul, that killed 63 people.

“The Taliban cannot absolve themselves of blame for they provide platform for terrorists,” Ghani said in a post on Twitter.

Rahimi told The Associated Press the attacker set off explosives among the wedding participants. Both the Taliban and a local affiliate of the ISIS often carry out bloody attacks in the capital.

“Around 1,200 guests were invited to the wedding,” said Ahmad Omid, a survivor who said the gathering was for his father’s cousin. “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.”

Outside a local hospital, families wailed. “There are so many dead and wounded victims,” Omid said.

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 ISIS carry out bloody attacks in the capital.

The blast at the Dubai City wedding hall in western Kabul shattered a period of relative calm in the city.

On August 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 a center of community life in a city weary of decades of war, with thousands of dollars spent on a single evening.

The halls also serve as meeting places, and in November at least 55 people were killed after a suicide bomber sneaked into a Kabul wedding hall where hundreds of Muslim religious scholars and clerics had gathered to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad.

“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.

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