At least six dead in suicide blast at Afghan wedding

Published July 12, 2019
A wounded man receives treatment in a hospital after a suicide attack on the outskirts of Nangarhar province east of Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, July 12, 2019.  A 13-year old suicide bomber blew himself up at a wedding early Friday in eastern Afghanistan's Nangarhar province, killing five people and injuring 11 others, police officials said. (AP Photo) — Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
A wounded man receives treatment in a hospital after a suicide attack on the outskirts of Nangarhar province east of Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, July 12, 2019. A 13-year old suicide bomber blew himself up at a wedding early Friday in eastern Afghanistan's Nangarhar province, killing five people and injuring 11 others, police officials said. (AP Photo) — Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

At least six people were killed and 14 wounded on Friday when a suicide bomber attacked a wedding ceremony in eastern Afghanistan, an official told AFP.

The Taliban, who have pledged to try to reduce civilian casualties, denied responsibility for the blast in Nangarhar province, according to a statement posted on its official website.

The area, close to the Pakistan border, is home to other insurgent organisations including the militant Islamic State group, who have carried out previous attacks, and who are headquartered in Nangarhar province.

Take a look: Senior Afghan Taliban leader says insurgents want peace

“This morning at 8am (0330 GMT), a suicide bomber detonated himself at a wedding ceremony ... in Pachiragam district,” Attaullah Khogyani, the Nangarhar governor's spokesman, told AFP.

He said six people had been killed and 14 wounded, a change from an earlier toll of five dead and 40 wounded.

“All the villagers were gathered for a wedding ceremony,” said witness Saleem Jan, who was himself a guest and who was wounded in the blast.

Speaking to AFP from hospital, he described confusion as the bomb exploded and people began running.

“I didn't know what happened,” he said. “When I turned my face I saw dozens of people were wounded, lying on the ground.”

Nangarhar regional hospital spokesman Zahir Adil told AFP that two bodies and 11 wounded victims had been taken to the hospital in central Nangarhar city.

According to The Associated Press, the bomber was a 13-year-old.

Among those killed was Malik Toor, a commander of a pro-government militia who had organised the wedding, police official Fayz Mohammad Babarkhil said.

Officials said Toor was the likely target of the attack, which took place in Pachirwa Agham district of Nangarhar province.

The explosion comes just days after historic talks between Afghan representatives and the Taliban wrapped up as part of a US-led effort to end the war.

Read next: Afghanistan's Ghani says now is the time for peace

At the conclusion of the two-day summit in Doha, parties unveiled a joint resolution pledging a “roadmap for peace” in which they sought to reduce civilian casualties to “zero”.

Direct talks between US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and the Taliban also took place last week.

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