At least 14 dead in Afghanistan suicide attack

  • 16 Nov 2017

The suicide attacker targeted a wedding hall in Kabul where a political gathering was taking place inside, officials say.

The suicide attack was the latest in a wave of violence in Afghanistan that has killed and wounded thousands of civilians this year. November 16, 2017. ( Reuters )

A suicide attacker blew himself up outside a wedding hall in Kabul on Thursday, killing at least 14 people and wounding several others, officials and witnesses said. The death could be higher, with some sources saying at least 18 people were killed.

The attack apparently targeted a political gathering underway inside the hall. 

Daesh claimed responsibility on the terrorist group's news agency, Amaq. The Taliban denied involvement.

Supporters of Atta Mohammad Noor, the powerful governor of the northern province of Balkh and a vocal critic of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, had been holding an event inside the hall at the time of the blast.

"After lunch as we were exiting the hall a huge explosion shook the hall, shattering glass and causing chaos and panic," said Harun Mutaref, who was at the gathering.

"I saw many bodies including police and civilians lying in blood."

The bomber tried to get into the building but was stopped at the security checkpoint where he detonated his device, Kabul police spokesman Abdul Basir Mujahid said.

"A number of our police personnel are among the casualties," Mujahid added.

Governor of Balkh province absent

Governor Noor was not at the event, one of his aides said.

Noor is a senior leader of the Tajik-dominated Jamiat e Islami party. 

He is a critic of Ghani and the National Unity Government, and has hinted that he may run in the 2019 presidential election.

Noor recently called for the return of Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum, who fled to Turkey in May after he was accused of raping and torturing a political rival in 2016.

Earlier this year, Noor met Deputy Chief Executive Mohammad Mohaqiq, a senior figure in the mainly Shia Hazara ethnic community, and Dostum in Turkey to form the "Coalition for the Salvation of Afghanistan."

*An earlier version of the story had incorrectly stated a higher death toll.