KABUL (Reuters) – A suicide bomber killed 63 individuals and wounded 182 in an assault on a packed wedding reception within the Afghan capital on Saturday evening, the inside ministry mentioned, as violence reveals no signal of easing regardless of hopes for a deal on a U.S. troop withdrawal.
Workers of a wedding corridor examine after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan August 18, 2019. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail
The assault got here because the Taliban and the United States try to barter an settlement on the withdrawal of U.S. forces in trade for a Taliban dedication on safety and peace talks with Afghanistan’s U.S.-backed authorities.
The Taliban denied duty for the blast at a west Kabul wedding corridor, in a minority Shi’ite neighborhood, filled with individuals celebrating a wedding.
Women and kids have 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. No one claimed duty for that blast, which killed 4 individuals and wounded about 20.
Pictures posted on social media confirmed our bodies strewn amid overturned desk and chairs on the wedding corridor, with darkish blood stains on the carpet. The bomber struck the lads’s reception space, officers mentioned.
“Everybody was running,” a waiter on the corridor, Sayed Agha Shah, mentioned after the blast.
“Several of our waiters were killed and wounded.”
Resident Mohammad Hasan rushed to the scene after the blast rocked the neighborhood.
“I saw many women and children screaming and crying,” he mentioned.
Wedding halls have change into a giant enterprise in Kabul because the Afghan economic system slowly picks up and households spend extra on celebrations. Big, brightly lit halls now line some suburban streets of town.
At least 40 individuals have been killed in an explosion at a wedding corridor in Kabul in November.
Two Taliban spokesman issued statements to disclaim duty for the Saturday evening blast.
Islamic State militants additionally function in Afghanistan and have carried out bloody assaults in cities and cities, some aimed toward members of the Shi’ite minority.
BLOODSHED AND TALKS
There has been no let-up in preventing and bomb assaults in Afghanistan over current months regardless of the talks between the United States and the Taliban since late final 12 months.
In the northern province of Balkh, 11 civilians have been killed on Sunday when a roadside bomb blew up their van, police mentioned.
The Taliban have been preventing to expel overseas forces and re-establish an Islamic state since they have been ousted in October 2001, weeks after the Sept. 11 assaults on the United States.
Both U.S. negotiators and the Taliban have reported progress after eight rounds of talks since late final 12 months.
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 United States aimed toward securing their long-cherished aim of getting overseas troops out.
Taliban negotiators have been getting ready for the subsequent 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. Top 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 in regards to 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.
Under the anticipated deal, the Taliban, in trade for a U.S. dedication on a withdrawal, would assure Afghanistan wouldn’t be a sanctuary for militants to broaden 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 14,000 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, additonal reporting by Matin Sahak in MAZAR-I-SHARIF; Writing by Robert Birsel; Editing by Richard Borsuk and Simon Cameron-Moore
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