India condemns Kabul bombing that killed over 60

Tuesday, 20 Aug, 2019

Wedding hall workers inspect the scene after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 18, 2019.

The Taliban, on the other hand, have intensified their attacks in an effort to gain more territory and get the upper hand in the peace talks. The provincial governor blamed the Taliban for planting the device.

The U.S. has reportedly been in talks with the Taliban since late-2018, and is allegedly eyeing a deal in which American troops would withdraw from the nation "in exchange for guarantees that Afghanistan would not become a haven for other terrorist groups", among other agreements, according to the Associated Press, and The New York Times. But one Afghan security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said that a peace deal could see up to 10% of Taliban fighters defect to Islamic State. The Afghan Interior Ministry said that the attack had been carried out by a suicide bomber.

The groom recalled greeting smiling guests in the afternoon, before seeing their bodies being carried out hours later.

The groom, Mirwais, who spoke with local media, lamented the blast saying, "My family, my bride are in shock, they can not even speak". My bride keeps fainting. "I will never see happiness in my life again", he said.

"I can't go to the funerals, I feel very weak".

"I am not a groom today, my family, my friends are all in grief", Elmi, who is in his early 20s and works as a tailor, said. The bride's father told TOLOnews 14 members of his family were killed.

"For about 20 minutes the hall was full of smoke", Farhag told the BBC. The year before, the group bombed a Hazara-led protest, leaving more than 80 dead and hundreds wounded.

Afghan officials confirmed that 63 people were killed and another 182 were wounded in the blast.

President Ashraf Ghani, in comments on the Kabul blast before the IS claim, said the Taliban could not "absolve themselves of blame for they provide a platform for terrorists". The explosion took place just before dinner was to be served to the almost 1,000 guests who had gathered in the southwest of the city. The attack was claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) group.

The blast at the wedding hall, known as Dubai City, shattered a period of relative calm in Kabul. Zaher Adel, a spokesman for a local hospital, said 66 wounded people had been brought in.

It follows a bomb attack on a mosque in Pakistan on Friday that killed a brother of Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhundzada.

No individual or group has so far claimed responsibility for the deadly explosion.

"We want the government to stop arguing about power and act like a human being to bring peace to this country", one worker at the wedding hall, Hajji Reza, said. Their attacks have become so frequent and deadly that the Afghan and US governments now keep military casualty figures confidential.

Both U.S. negotiators and the Taliban have reported progress after eight rounds of talks since late a year ago.

But how much of an inglorious an end to America's longest war is he prepared to countenance to make that happen?

Afghanistan is due to hold elections next month.

Ghani did not refer in his speech to negotiations between the United States and the Afghan Taliban on a deal by which USA troops can withdraw in exchange for Taliban security guarantees. Taliban forces have often fought Islamic State for territory and resources.