What has been tagged as the most horrific incident in recent times, occurred in Afghanistan, on Saturday, August 17, when a suicide bomber killed more than 60 people and wounded scores, including women and children, as they celebrated a wedding in the Afghan capital.
According to Afghan authorities, on Sunday, August 18, this is the deadliest attack in Kabul, in recent months.
TOS TV gathered that the blast which took place late Saturday, in the city’s West, came as Washington and the Taliban are in the final stages of a deal to reduce the United States (US) Military presence in Afghanistan.
Although, the Taliban had denied any involvement in the attack, Afghan Interior Ministry Spokesman, Nasrat Rahimi, disclosed that at least 63 people had been killed, and 182 injured. “Among the wounded are women and children”, Rahimi disclosed.
Recall, that Afghan weddings are epic and vibrant affairs, with hundreds or often thousands of guests celebrating for hours inside industrial-scale wedding halls, where the men are usually segregated from the women and children.
In the aftermath of Saturday’s attack, images from inside the hall showed blood-stained bodies on the ground, along with pieces of flesh and torn clothes, hats, sandals, and bottles of mineral water.
The wedding was believed to be a Shia gathering. Shia Muslims are frequently targeted in Sunni-majority Afghanistan, particularly by the so-called Islamic State group, which is also active in Kabul, but did not immediately issue any claim of responsibility.
A source, Mohammad Farhag, who was at the wedding, told Newsmen that he had been in the women’s section, when he heard a huge blast in the men’s area.
“Everyone ran outside shouting and crying”, he said.
“For about 20 minutes, the hall was full of smoke. Almost everyone in the men’s section is either dead or wounded.”
Two hours after the blast, he stated that bodies were still being removed from the hall.
A mobile phone video which swiftly went viral shortly after the attack, showed one man outside the hall with bloodstains on his clothes, his voice breaking, as he explained he was searching for his brothers.
One guest who reportedly spoke to Tolo News, a local news medium, disclosed that 1,200 people had been invited.
The attack sent a wave of grief through a city grimly accustomed to atrocities.
“This heinous and inhumane attack is indeed a crime against humanity”, tweeted Afghanistan’s Chief Executive, Abdullah Abdullah.
“This was a wedding. Imagine two family groups gathered for a celebration now bearing such unimaginable, paralyzing loss”, tweeted Analyst Ahmad Shuja.
Insurgents have periodically struck Afghan weddings, which are seen as easy targets, because they frequently lack rigorous security precautions.
On July 12, at least six people were killed when a suicide bomber attacked a wedding ceremony in the Eastern Afghan Province of Nangarhar. IS, which has a growing footprint in the region, claimed the blast.
Expectations are rising for a deal in which the United States would start withdrawing its approximately 14,000 Soldiers from Afghanistan, after a two-decade war that has turned into a stalemate.
In return, the Taliban would commit to various security guarantees, including a pledge that the Islamist hardliners who long harboured Al-Qaeda, would not allow Afghanistan to once again become a jihadist safe haven.
The deal would allow America to exit its longest war, but few believe it will bring peace immediately to Afghanistan.
Many Afghans fear that the Taliban could return to some form of power, eroding hard-won rights for women in particular, or the country descend further into a brutal civil war.