'Happiness to sorrow': Families bury loved ones after deadly Kabul wedding blast

An Afghan woman who has lost his husband and two sons grieves at the door of the hospital after a bomber attacked a wedding in Kabul

An Afghan woman who has lost his husband and two sons grieves at the door of the hospital after a bomber attacked a wedding in Kabul Credit Rex

Joy and celebration turned into horror and carnage when an IS suicide bomber targeted a packed Afghan wedding hall, killing at least 63 people in the deadliest attack to rock Kabul in months, officials and witnesses said Sunday.

The Afghanistan interior ministry confirmed the death toll hours after the bombing.

Survivors say the bomber was standing by a stage where children and others had gathered when he detonated his explosives vest.

President Ashraf Ghani on Monday vowed to "eliminate" all safe havens of the Daesh as the country marked 100th Independence Day after a horrific wedding attack claimed by the militant group that killed 63 people - all civilians.

No group claimed responsibility for the bombings, Reuters said, adding that both the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the Taliban operate in the region.

"Government leaders live behind heavily protected compounds, drive in armored vehicles and have their families living overseas, but we ordinary Afghans are suffering routinely", he told Arab News.

Relatives grieve near the coffins of victims of the Dubai City wedding hall bombing during a mass funeral in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The Taliban, who are engaged in peace talks with the U.S., condemned the attack. The Taliban denied involvement in an attack that bore the hallmarks of the Islamic State affiliate.

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

Afghan men investigate in a wedding hall after a deadly bomb blast in Kabul, on August 18, 2019.

Another guest told Tolo that some 1,200 people had been invited. Noor Ahmad Habibi, deputy spokesman for the provincial governor, said some 10 explosions took place and that most people had minor injuries.

The deal would allow America to exit its longest war, but few believe it will bring peace immediately to Afghanistan.

On August 7, a Taliban vehicle bomber aimed at Afghan security forces detonated his explosives on the same road, a short drive from the hall, killing 14 people and wounding 145 - a lot of them women, children and other civilians. They're now at their strongest since the US -led invasion in 2001, and effectively control half the country.

Both U.S. negotiators and the Taliban have reported progress after eight rounds of talks since late past year. The United States also wants a Taliban commitment on power-sharing talks with Ghani's government and a ceasefire. That would include intra-Afghan talks on the country's future. "And we've stopped that we have a very, very good view", he told reporters on the tarmac before departing from New Jersey as he headed back to Washington.

Tensions in the country have been high even though the Taliban and the USA, which has thousands of troops stationed in Afghanistan, are reportedly getting closer to announcing a peace deal.

Heather Barr of Human Rights Watch responded on Twitter that the Taliban denial "highlights the fact that a U.S. -Taliban deal won't end attacks on Afghans". The Taliban have refused to talk to the government.

Some analysts have warned that Trump's eagerness to bring at least some troops home ahead of next year's election could be weakening the USA stance in the negotiations as the Taliban might see little need to make significant concessions.

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