ISIS claims attack at wedding reception in Afghanistan

Suicide bomber kills 63, wounds 182 at wedding party in Kabul.

Elad Benari ,

Aftermath of attack in wedding hall in Kabul
Aftermath of attack in wedding hall in Kabul

The Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group's affiliate in Afghanistan on Sunday claimed responsibility for an attack on a wedding in Kabul that killed at least 63 on Saturday night.

182 people were wounded in the attack, which took place when a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-filled vest.

The blast took place in a western Kabul neighborhood that is home to many in the country's minority Shiite Hazara community, according to The Associated Press.

ISIS, which declared war on Afghanistan's Shiites nearly two years ago and has claimed responsibility for many attacks targeting them in the past, said in a statement that a Pakistani ISIS fighter seeking martyrdom targeted a large Shiite gathering.

The wedding, at which more than 1,200 people had been invited, was in fact a mixed crowd of Shiites and Sunnis, said the event hall's owner, Hussain Ali.

The bomber detonated his explosives near the stage where musicians were playing and "all the youths, children and all the people who were there were killed," said Gul Mohammad, an eyewitness to the bombing.

The emergence of the Afghani ISIS affiliate in recent years might be the greatest threat to Afghan civilians as the US and Taliban seek an agreement to end nearly 18 years of fighting.

Over the past year, US air strikes in Afghanistan have killed several ISIS leaders.

In August of last year, the ISIS leader in Afghanistan, Saad Arhabi, was killed in air strikes in the group's eastern stronghold in Nangarhar province near the border with Pakistan.

In July of 2017, US forces killed Abu Sayed, a senior member of ISIS’ Afghanistan branch, known as ISIS-K.

In April of that year, the US carried out a massive air strike against ISIS in Afghanistan, killing at least 36 terrorists.

The head of ISIS in Afghanistan, Abdul Hasib, was also killed by Afghan and US Special Forces in the eastern province of Nangarhar that month.