KABUL (Reuters) – A suicide bomber killed 63 folks and wounded 182 in an assault on a packed marriage ceremony reception within the Afghan capital on Saturday night time, the inside ministry mentioned, as violence reveals no signal of easing regardless of hopes for a deal on a U.S. troop withdrawal.
Staff of a marriage corridor examine after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan August 18, 2019. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail
The assault got here because the Taliban and the USA are attempting to barter an settlement on the withdrawal of U.S. forces in alternate for a Taliban dedication on safety and peace talks with Afghanistan’s U.S.-backed authorities.
The Taliban denied accountability for the blast at a west Kabul marriage ceremony corridor, in a minority Shi’ite neighborhood, filled with folks celebrating a wedding.
Ladies and youngsters had been among the many casualties, inside ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi mentioned on Sunday.
The blast follows a bomb assault on a mosque in Pakistan on Friday that killed a brother of Taliban chief Haibatullah Akhundzada. Nobody claimed accountability for that blast, which killed 4 folks and wounded about 20.
Footage posted on social media confirmed our bodies strewn amid overturned desk and chairs on the marriage ceremony corridor, with darkish blood stains on the carpet. The bomber struck the boys’s reception space, officers mentioned.
“All people was operating,” a waiter on the corridor, Sayed Agha Shah, mentioned after the blast.
“A number of of our waiters had been killed and wounded.”
Resident Mohammad Hasan rushed to the scene after the blast rocked the neighborhood.
“I noticed many ladies and youngsters screaming and crying,” he mentioned.
Wedding ceremony halls have develop into a giant enterprise in Kabul because the Afghan economic system slowly picks up and households spend extra on celebrations. Large, brightly lit halls now line some suburban streets of town.
No less than 40 folks had been killed in an explosion at a marriage corridor in Kabul in November.
Two Taliban spokesman issued statements to disclaim accountability for the Saturday night time blast.
Islamic State militants additionally function in Afghanistan and have carried out bloody assaults in cities and cities, some geared toward members of the Shi’ite minority.
BLOODSHED AND TALKS
There was no let-up in combating and bomb assaults in Afghanistan over current months regardless of the talks between the USA and the Taliban since late final yr.
The Taliban have been combating to expel overseas forces and re-establish an Islamic state since they had been ousted in October 2001, weeks after the Sept. 11 assaults on the USA.
Each U.S. negotiators and the Taliban have reported progress after eight rounds of talks since late final yr.
Afghan Taliban officers mentioned on Saturday the killing of the brother of their chief in a bomb assault close to the Pakistani metropolis of Quetta wouldn’t derail the talks with the USA geared toward securing their long-cherished objective of getting overseas troops out.
Taliban negotiators had been getting ready for the following spherical of talks, hoping to resolve the final excellent variations, the officers mentioned. No date for a brand new spherical has been set.
U.S. President Donald Trump has made no secret of his need for a U.S. pullout from Afghanistan and an finish to America’s longest conflict. Prime U.S. nationwide safety advisers briefed Trump on Friday on the negotiations.
There are deep considerations amongst Afghan officers and U.S. nationwide safety aides concerning the talks with fears Afghanistan might plunge into a brand new civil conflict that might see a return of Taliban rule and worldwide militants discovering a sanctuary.
Beneath the anticipated deal, the Taliban, in alternate for a U.S. dedication on a withdrawal, would assure Afghanistan wouldn’t be a sanctuary for militants to develop and plot new assaults, each side have mentioned.
The Taliban are additionally anticipated to make a dedication to open power-sharing talks with the U.S.-backed authorities and comply with a ceasefire.
Some 14,00zero U.S. troops stay in Afghanistan, coaching and advising Afghan safety forces and conducting counterinsurgency operations.
The conflict has floor right into a stalemate with casualties rising amongst civilians in addition to combatants.
Reporting by Abdul Qadir Sediqi; Writing by Robert Birsel; Enhancing by Richard Borsuk and Simon Cameron-Moore