17 August 2019 Kabul bombing
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|17 August 2019 Kabul bombing|
|Part of the War in Afghanistan (2001–present)|
|Date||17 August 2019 |
10:40 p.m. (AFT; UTC+04:30)
|Target||Shia Hazara civilians|
|Perpetrators||Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Khorasan Province|
On August 17, 2019, a suicide bombing took place during a wedding in a wedding hall in Kabul, Afghanistan. At least 92 people were killed in the attack and over 140 injured. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant claimed responsibility for the bombing, stating that the attack targeted the Shi'ites. More than 1,000 people were gathered for the wedding when the attack took place. The attack occurred a day before the 100th Afghan Independence Day, causing the government to postpone the planned celebrations taking place at the Darul Aman Palace. It was the deadliest attack in Kabul since January 2018.
The suicide bombing occurred at approximately 10:40 p.m. Afghanistan Time (UTC+04:30) in western Kabul, in an area heavily populated by the Shia Hazara minority, inside the "Dubai City" wedding hall. The suicide bomber detonated the explosives in the men's section of the wedding hall, near the stage where musicians were playing, at a time when hundreds were inside the building for a wedding ceremony. The bomber detonated a suicide vest packed with ball bearings.
The explosion occurred shortly before the wedding ceremony was supposed to start. According to the wedding hall's owner, more than 1,200 people had been invited to the event, with a mixed group of Shi'ites and Sunnis attending. Most of the attendees were ethnic Hazaras. Both the bride and the groom were Shi'ite, and both from modest working class families, with the groom working as a tailor. Their families had discussed how to schedule the timing of the wedding to try to minimize the risk of an attack.
At least 63 people were initially killed and 182 injured. While the bride and groom survived, both lost several family members. Many children were also among those killed. 17 more people succumbed to their injuries in the days after the attack, bringing the death toll to 80. The final death toll was put at 92.
The day after the attack, a local affiliate of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS, the Islamic State, or Daesh) claimed responsibility for the attack. The statement of responsibility claimed that after the suicide bombing inside the wedding hall, a car bomb was also detonated outside as emergency vehicles were arriving. The follow-up car bombing has not been confirmed by the authorities.
President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani condemned the "inhumane" and "barbaric" attack and expressed his condolences towards the victims and the families of the dead victims, and declared a day of mourning. He also stated that the Taliban can not fully escape blame for the attack either, saying that "The Taliban cannot absolve themselves of blame for they provide platform for terrorists."
The Taliban denied responsibility for the attack and condemned it. The group's spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said in a statement that the group "strongly condemns explosion [sic] targeting civilians inside a hotel in Kabul city," while also adding that "Such barbaric deliberate attacks against civilians including women and children are forbidden and unjustifiable."
- United Nations – The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) released a statement condemning the attack, stating that "The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) condemns last night's Kabul attack that initial reports indicate killed scores of civilians and injured many more, among them women and children."
- India – The Indian Ministry of External Affairs condemned the attack in an official statement, stating that "India strongly condemns the horrific bombing in Kabul yesterday at a wedding hall in which innocent civilians lost their lives. We express our sincere condolences to the families of the victims of this cowardly attack and wish early recovery to the injured."
- Indonesia – The Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued an official statement condemning the bombing and expressing condolences to the victims and their families.
- Pakistan – The Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement that condemned the Kabul attack and terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
- Saudi Arabia – The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement on Twitter, saying that they "condemn and denounce the suicide bombing at a wedding in the Afghan capital of Kabul" and "renew the [Saudi Arabia's] firm position against targeting and terrorizing innocent people".
- South Korea – The South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement condemning the attack and expressing condolences to the victims and their families. The statement articulated the "firm position" of the Korean government that "terrorism is an act against humanity that cannot be justified under any circumstances and must be eradicated at any cost."
- Turkey – The Turkish Interior Ministry expressed "great sorrow" over the bombing and strongly condemned "this inhuman terrorist attack which targeted innocent people and wish Allah's mercy upon those who lost their lives, speedy recovery to the wounded, and convey our condolences to the friendly Government and the brotherly people of Afghanistan".
- United Arab Emirates – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the UAE, in a statement, condemned the attack which took place in Kabul and reaffirmed its support to the Afghan Government in their fight against terrorism.
- United States – U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, condemned the attack. He said that "Afghan peace process must be accelerated including intra-Afghan negotiations. Success in Afghan peace process will put Afghans in much stronger position to defeat the ISIS". United States Ambassador to Afghanistan John R. Bass conveyed his condolences on Twitter, saying "Yesterday's wedding hall bombing in Kabul was an act of extreme depravity. Our heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families. No one should be subject to such an attack, least of all innocent children."
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- Afghanistan: Bomb kills 63 at wedding in Kabul
- Dozens Wounded In Blasts As Afghanistan Marks Independence Day
- Islamic State claims responsibility for Kabul wedding hall blast
- 63 Killed as Explosion Turns Kabul Wedding Into Carnage