KABUL, Afghanistan — The death toll from a late-night suicide bombing at a crowded wedding party in the Afghan capital rose to at least 63 on Sunday, including women and children, officials said. It was the deadliest attack in Kabul this year.
Another 182 civilians were wounded in the Saturday night explosion, government spokesman Feroz Bashari said. Interior Ministry spokesman Nusrat Rahimi confirmed the casualty toll as families began to bury the dead. Some helped to dig graves with their bare hands.
Kabul residents were outraged as there appears to be no end to violence even as the United States and the Taliban say they are nearing a deal to end their 18-year conflict, America’s longest war.
The Taliban condemned the attack as “forbidden and unjustifiable” and denied any involvement, leading many to suspect the Islamic State group’s local affiliate in Afghanistan in the attack. Both the Taliban and ISIS have carried out large-scale attacks in the Afghan capital in the past.
Kabul’s huge, brightly lit wedding halls are centers of community life in a city weary of decades of war, with thousands of dollars spent on a single evening.
“Devastated by the news of a suicide attack inside a wedding hall in Kabul. A heinous crime against our people; how is it possible to train a human and ask him to go and blow himself (up) inside a wedding?!!” presidential spokesman Sediq Seddiqi said in a Twitter post.