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Islamic state claims responsibility for wedding suicide attack in Kabul

A damaged stage of a wedding hall after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan

Islamic State on Sunday claimed responsibility for a suicide attack in Kabul on Saturday.

A suicide bomber killed 63 people and wounded 182 in an attack on a packed wedding reception in the Afghan capital, the Afghan interior ministry said on Sunday.

The Saturday night attack came as the Taliban and the United States are trying to negotiate an agreement on the withdrawal of U.S. forces in exchange for a Taliban commitment on security and peace talks with Afghanistan’s U.S.-backed government.

Women and children were among the casualties, interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said, as families thronged to Kabul’s crowded cemeteries to lay loved-ones to rest.

The blast follows a bomb attack on a mosque in Pakistan on Friday that killed a brother of Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhundzada. No one claimed responsibility for that blast, which killed four people and wounded about 20.

Pictures on social media from the scene of the Kabul blast showed bodies strewn amid overturned table and chairs at the wedding hall, with dark blood stains on the carpet.

Both the bride and groom survived.

“I won’t ever be able to forget this however much I try,” the groom, identified as Mirwais, told the TOLOnews channel.

He said his cousin and some friends had been killed.

“I can’t go to the funerals, I feel very weak … I know that this won’t be the last suffering for Afghans, the suffering will continue.”

The bride’s father told TOLOnews 14 members of his family were killed.

Wedding halls have become a big business in Kabul as the Afghan economy slowly picks up and families spend more on celebrations. Big, brightly lit halls now line some suburban streets of the city, and bombers have targeted them before.

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