Afghan wedding party gunfight leaves 21 dead

Wedding party turns into tragedy as two armed groups open fire on guests in Afghanistan, killing 21 people

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Armed men opened fire on guests at a wedding ceremony in northern Afghanistan and at least 21 people were killed following a gunfight between two groups, provincial officials said on Monday.

The incident happened in Dih Salah, a district in the northern province of Baghlan late Sunday, Abdul Jabar Perdili, police chief of the province, told Associated Press. He added eight wedding guests were wounded, including two who were younger than 18 years old.

"There was a wedding party, which turned to a tragedy, after some armed men entered and opened fire on male guests. An investigation is ongoing and police will arrest all perpetrators," he told Reuters by telephone.

Some 400 guests were reportedly in a private house for the wedding of a local mullah's son during the gunfight.

It was not immediately clear what prompted the attack but officials said thousands of armed militia operate in the province, that is plagued by militant attacks. Illegal activities and personal feuds between different groups were intensified in recent years, the officials added.

"The clash broke out after a relative of a provincial police official was assassinated during the wedding party," Col. Gulistan Qasani, the police chief of Dih Salah, quoted as saying by AP.

"When we collected the bodies it was difficult to determine who were the shooters and who were not, because I could not find any weapons," he said.

Afghanistan has witnessed rising levels of violence since NATO forces withdrew from the country in December 2014. The UN says 2014 was the most violent year yet since US forces invaded the country in 2001.

An estimated 40,000 civilians were killed in Afghanistan since 2001 as a result of fighting between Taliban and Afghan troops backed by foreign forces.

TRTWorld and agencies