(KABUL, Afghanistan) — An explosion at a wedding hall in the city of Kabul has killed 63 people and wounded 182, according Nasrat Rahimi, spokesperson for the Afghanistan Ministry of Interior Affairs.
The blast happened at the Dubai City Wedding Hall in western Kabul as it was packed with revelers enjoying a wedding, many of whom were women and children.
The cause of the explosion remains unknown, but it took place in a part of Kabul where many people of the Shiite Hazara community call home.
The Islamic State’s arm in Afghanistan claimed responsibility for the attack, The Associated Press reported. The Taliban released a statement shortly after the explosion condemning the bombing and denying any involvement.
Just yesterday President Donald Trump met with his Afghanistan envoy, along with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Adviser John Bolton and Vice President Mike Pence, at his golf club in New Jersey and hinted that the U.S. might be close to a deal with the Taliban.
He tweeted, “Just completed a very good meeting on Afghanistan. Many on the opposite side of this 19 year old war, and us, are looking to make a deal – if possible!”
An Afghan official told ABC News, “Terrorists once again targeted civilians. They cannot face ANDSF (Afghanistan National Defense and Security Forces) in the battle field hence conduct these cowardly attacks.”
Images of the wedding hall after the explosion showed several enormous holes were left in the walls and ceiling of the building and dozens of shoes piled up from victims that were caught in the blast. Hospital corridors were also lined with victims who were waiting to receive treatment — some who had lost limbs.
The timing of the explosion shattered more than a week of calm in the Afghan capital.
A Taliban car bomb allegedly targeting Afghan security forces ripped through a busy west Kabul neighborhood on the same road as the wedding explosion 10 days ago, killing 14 people and wounding 145 — most of them women and children.
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