Carnage at Afghan wedding kills scores

63 Killed in Suicide Attack at Afghan Wedding Hall

There were children among the dead and the attack wounded close to 200 other people.

Monday's attacks took place as Afghanistan marked the 100th anniversary of its independence from British rule.

"We fear the terrorists may have chosen mass wedding gatherings as their new targets", said Sultani, who was out of the country when the bombing happened and spoke to AFP by phone late yesterday.

Kabul weddings pump millions of dollars into the local economy, with the events typically a costly affair. "We will avenge the blood of our people, every drop of it".

Saturday night's devastating attack on a wedding in Afghanistan's capital comes amid huge uncertainty about the country's future.

Most of the victims were Shiite and ethnic Hazaras.

"I think many of us are merely alive by appearance and physically".

Taliban officials said on Saturday the killing of the brother of their leader in a bomb attack in Pakistan would not derail the talks with the United States aimed at securing their long-cherished goal of getting foreign troops out.

"Wedding halls were one of the few businesses that were still functioning relatively well despite all the problems", said Ghulam Sakhi Sultani, one of the Shahr-e-Dubai's three owners.

Both the bride and groom survived.

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Six children from one family perished.

"I won't ever be able to forget this, however much I try", the groom, Mirwais Elmi, told the TOLOnews channel. You can not understand or comprehend our grief, misery and pain.

Amir Mohammad a 50-year-old man whose son died and had two others wounded in the attack, said: "Life has become meaningless for my family".

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the number of fatalities in the blast at a wedding ceremony in Kabul. Afghanistan is due to hold elections next month.

Islamic State (IS) on Sunday claimed responsibility for a suicide attack in Kabul on Saturday. Now Washington hopes the Taliban can help rein in IS fighters, even as some worry that Taliban fighters, disenchanted by a peace deal, could join IS. The Taliban have been fighting to expel foreign forces and re-establish an Islamic state since they were ousted in October 2001, weeks after the September 11 attacks on the United States.

The latest attack underscores how hard the path to peace in Afghanistan will be: IS, who have a presence in eastern and northern Afghanistan and are fighting against both the government and US-led worldwide forces, are not part of the talks.

The U.S. envoy in the talks, Zalmay Khalilzad, said Sunday that the peace process must be accelerated, including holding talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government and other Afghans.

The Taliban now control more territory than at any point since they were forced from power in 2001.

Amid raging conflict across the country, traditional wedding parties have been an escape for the war-weary Afghans giving them some rare moments of happiness. "Success here will put Afghans in a much stronger position to defeat ISIS". Another Taliban statement marking Independence Day said to "leave Afghanistan to the Afghans".

Fresh violence was reported Monday as an Afghan official said at least 66 people were wounded in a series of explosions in the eastern city of Jalalabad. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blasts in the city, parts of which have been a Daesh bastion.

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