Thursday, 27 February, 2020


Afghanistan rocked by explosion, dozens feared dead

Afghanistan rocked by explosion, dozens feared dead Afghanistan rocked by explosion, dozens feared dead
Bennie Garza | 19 August, 2019, 00:43

An explosion detonated by a suicide bomber ripped through a crowded wedding hall in western Kabul on Saturday night, with witnesses reporting multiple casualties. An ISIS Afghan affiliate claimed responsibility for the blast.

"For about 20 minutes the hall was full of smoke".

At least 40 people were killed in a wedding-hall blast in Kabul in November. "Everyone was lying all around the hall", said Ahmad Omid.

Under the expected deal, the Taliban, in exchange for a U.S. commitment on a withdrawal, would guarantee Afghanistan would not be a sanctuary for militants to plot new attacks, both sides have said.

While officials have not given official attendance or death figures, local media said such weddings can be attended by more than 400 people.

TOLO News quoted sources and eyewitnesses who said the Shahr-e-Dubai hall was packed with guests when the explosion happened.

Workers at a wedding hall inspect the scene after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 18, 2019.

President Ashraf Ghani, in comments on the Kabul blast before the Daesh claim, said the Taliban could not "absolve themselves of blame for they provide a platform for terrorists". Their attacks have become so frequent and deadly that the Afghan and US governments now keep military casualty figures confidential.

"India strongly condemns the horrific bombing in Kabul yesterday at a wedding hall in which innocent civilians lost their lives", the MEA statement said.

"My top priority for now is to reach out to the families of victims of this barbaric attack", Ghani said on Twitter.

But such attacks have increased dramatically in the past three years after Daesh emerged as a new threat for a country which was already coping with a rising Taliban insurgency.

"Several of our waiters were killed or wounded", he added. A deliberate attack on civilians "can only be described as a cowardly act of terror", United Nations envoy to Afghanistan Tadamichi Yamamoto said.

Afghan officials say there's no word yet on who was behind the attack.

The extremist group ruled Afghanistan for five years, imposing their harsh interpretation of Islamic law before the U.S. -led invasion, and many worry it might return in some form under an agreement with the U.S. The Taliban now control roughly half of Afghanistan and are at their strongest since their 2001 defeat.

On Friday, US President Donald Trump tweeted that both sides were "looking to make a deal - if possible".

While the Taliban earlier this year pledged to do more to protect civilians, it continues to stage deadly attacks against Afghan security forces and others in what is seen by many as an attempt to strengthen its position at the negotiating table.

The Taliban, however, maintains it will discuss a cease-fire and other domestic political issues in intra-Afghan negations once the United States announces the troop withdrawal timetable.

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