Kabul explosion kills 40 at gathering of clerics

Lester Mason
November 21, 2018

A spokesman for the Kabul police, Basir Mujahid, told the AP that the organizers of the event had not asked for assistance in securing the wedding hall.

President Ashraf Ghani declared Wednesday a national day of mourning for the victims of the attack, which he described in a statement as an "unforgivable crime".

"Initial information suggests it was caused by a suicide bomber", interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish said.

"There are a lot of casualties - I myself have counted 30 casualties", he told AFP on condition of anonymity.

One eyewitness, who was interviewed outside Kabul's Emergency Hospital, said many people were wounded.

The Taliban and the Islamic State (IS) militant groups have targeted Muslim religious scholars aligned with the Afghan government in the past.

The Taliban condemned the attack in a WhatsApp message.

The Indian embassy in Kabul also condemned the attack.

However, another security source said at least 43 people have died and more than 80 others have sustained injuries in the attack. No group claimed that explosion.

TRT World's Sultan Faziy has more from Kabul.

IS claimed it carried out a similar attack in June, killing at least seven people and wounding 20 at a meeting of the Afghan Ulema Council, also in the capital. "We had parliamentary elections in October - the Taliban and Islamic State had both targeted the run-up to those elections and the elections themselves".

Iran has denounced a "heinous" terrorist attack on a religious celebration in Afghanistan's capital of Kabul, saying it is aimed at sowing sectarian discord in the country.

Afghan security forces have struggled to counter attacks from the two groups since the withdrawal of most North Atlantic Treaty Organisation combat troops in 2014.

However, there have been recent moves to try to end decades of war.

His comments underscore an apparent increasing sense of urgency in the White House and among American diplomats for a peace deal to be done quickly.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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