Published: Tue, November 20, 2018

Killed, 80 Wounded in Kabul Wedding Hall Explosion

Killed, 80 Wounded in Kabul Wedding Hall Explosion

Afghan officials say a suicide bomber targeted a gathering of Muslim religious scholars in Kabul, killing at least 40 people.

"The hidden hands behind this unfair terrorist operation have no goal but to fuel ethnic, sectarian and religious strife", Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Tuesday.

It is not the first time that religious scholars have been targeted by militants in the deeply religious country.

The death toll was expected to rise.

The bomber secretly entered a wedding hall in the capital where hundreds of scholars and clerics had gathered to mark the occasion, the interior ministry spokesman, Najib Danish, said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, but Daesh has claimed most recent suicide attacks in Kabul, which has become the deadliest place in the country for civilians.

Afghan security forces have struggled to prevent attacks by Islamist militants since most North Atlantic Treaty Organisation combat troops withdrew in 2014.

"Everything was covered with smoke and dust", he said.

Police sealed off roads leading to the scene of the attack.

The aid organisation Emergency said on Twitter 33 wounded and seven dead had been taken to its hospital in Kabul.

Made up of the country's top clerics, the council had issued a decree against suicide attacks and called for peace talks.

ISIS said it had targeted "tyrant clerics" who were siding with the USA -backed government.

In June a suicide bomber struck near a gathering of clerics in Kabul, about an hour after the group had proclaimed such attacks a sin.

Afghan security forces have struggled to combat the twin insurgencies since the USA and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation formally ended their combat mission in 2014, shifting to a support and counterterrorism role.

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