Joy turns to horror as IS bomber kills 63 in Afghanistan

KABUL (AFP) – Joy and celebration turned into horror and carnage when an Islamic State (IS) suicide bomber targetted a packed Afghan wedding hall, killing at least 63 people in the deadliest attack to rock Kabul in months, officials and witnesses said yesterday.

The massive blast, which took place late Saturday in west Kabul, came as Washington and the Taleban finalise a deal to reduce the United States (US) military presence in Afghanistan and hopefully build a roadmap to a ceasefire.

The groom recalled greeting smiling guests in the afternoon, before seeing their bodies being carried out hours later.

The attack “changed my happiness to sorrow”, the young man, who gave his name as Mirwais, told local TV station Tolo News.

“My family, my bride are in shock, they cannot even speak. My bride keeps fainting,” he said.

“I lost my brother, I lost my friends, I lost my relatives. I will never see happiness in my life again.”

Interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said a suicide bomber carried out the attack, with at least 63 people killed and 182 injured.

“Among the wounded are women and children,” Rahimi said.

Afghan weddings are epic and vibrant affairs, with hundreds or often thousands of guests celebrating for hours inside industrial-scale wedding halls where men are usually segregated from women and children.

“The wedding guests were dancing and celebrating the party when the blast happened,” recounted Munir Ahmad, 23, who was seriously injured and whose cousin was among the dead.