Accessibility links

Breaking News

Afghan President Vows to Eliminate IS Safe Havens After Wedding Attack

Caption Afghan President Ashraf Ghani attends Afghan Independence Day celebrations in Kabul, Aug. 19, 2019.

Afghanistan's president has vowed to eliminate all safe havens of the Islamic State.

Ashraf Ghani's comments Monday, on Afghanistan's centennial Independence Day, come as the South Asian country is still recovering from the shock of a bombing at a wedding late Saturday that killed at least 63 people, including children, and wounded 183.

The Islamic State group's Afghan branch has claimed responsibility for the bombing in Kabul.

President Ghani said, however, that the Taliban must also share the blame for the horrific attack because the Taliban's own barbarous attacks over the years on schools, mosques, and other public places have "created the platform for other terrorists" to launch merciless assaults.

An Afghan soldier inspects a damaged Dubai City wedding hall after an explosion in Kabul, Aug. 18, 2019.
An Afghan soldier inspects a damaged Dubai City wedding hall after an explosion in Kabul, Aug. 18, 2019.

The Taliban condemned the bombing. A spokesman for the insurgent group said “such barbaric deliberate attacks against civilians including women and children are forbidden and unjustifiable.”

The attack was one of the worst against Afghan civilians in recent years.

An 'inhumane act'

Ghani said Monday, "We will take revenge for every civilian drop of blood" and urged the international community to join Afghanistan with its efforts.

Ghani said the wedding attack was an “inhumane” act, and he has summoned an “extraordinary” security meeting to review and prevent such security lapses.

The victims of the overnight suicide bombing at the packed wedding hall were mostly members of the minority Shi’ite Hazara community.

A wedding guest told the French news agency AFP that the bride and groom were saying their vows when the bomb exploded.

The couple survived the blast, but the groom told a local television station Tolo News the attack "changed my happiness to sorrow . . . my bride keeps fainting . . . I will never see happiness in my life again."

The United Nations denounced the wedding hall bombing as an “atrocious” act against Afghan Shi’ites, saying it has documented several previous attacks aimed at the community. “An attack deliberately targeting civilians is an outrage, and deeply troubling, as it can only be described as a cowardly act of terror,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the head of the U.N. Assistance mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

U.S. ambassador to Kabul John Bass in a tweet condemned the carnage as an act of "extreme depravity."

More Attacks

Also on Monday 11 explosions in and around Jalalabad, the capital city of eastern Nangarhar province have wounded 54 people, including 20 children. At least five of the injured are said to be in critical condition.

there has been no claim of responsibility for the attacks.