Kabul Wedding Blast Images
Injured men receive treatment in the hospital after sustaining wounds from a blast at a wedding hall in Kabul, Afghanistan August 18, 2019 Image Credit: Reuters

Kabul: A suicide-bomb blast ripped through a wedding party on a busy Saturday night, 10.40pm local time, in Afghanistan's capital.


Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack, agencies reported. Daesh said one of its fighters blew himself up at a "large gathering" in Kabul while others "detonated a parked explosives-laden vehicle" when security forces arrived, in a statement posted on the Telegram messaging app.

The venue was the Shahr-e-Dubai wedding hall in Kabul, the literal translation of the name being "Dubai City" wedding hall.

Interior Ministry spokesman Nusrat Rahimi confirmed to media early on Sunday, August 18, that the death toll stood at 63, with at least 182 of the guests injured.

"Among the wounded are women and children," Rahimi said. Graphic pictures from the blast have been shared on social media showing bodies strewn across a hall, chairs and tables toppled over and bloodied. 

The groom: I lost my brother, I lost my friends

The groom, who only gave his name as Mirwais, recalled greeting smiling guests in the afternoon, before seeing their bodies being carried out hours later.

The attack "changed my happiness to sorrow", 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."

The blast occurred near the stage where musicians were and "all the youths, children and all the people who were there were killed," witness Gul Mohammad told AP.

"There are so many dead and wounded," said Ahmad Omid, a survivor, adding that about 1,200 guests had been invited to the wedding for his father's cousin. "I was with the groom in the other room when we heard the blast and then I couldn't find anyone. Everyone was lying all around the hall."

"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.

"Following the explosion, there was total chaos. Everyone was screaming and crying for their loved ones," he told AFP from his bed in a local hospital, where he is being treated for shrapnel wounds.

In the aftermath, images from inside the hall showed blood-stained bodies on the ground along with pieces of flesh and torn clothes, hats, sandals and bottles of mineral water.

The blast at the Dubai City wedding hall in western Kabul shattered a period of relative calm.

BBC reported that Taliban had denied responsibilty for the attack. No other group has claimed responsibility. The blast happened just a day after Trump commented on talks with Taliban on a deal to initiate the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan.

Under the expected deal, the Taliban, in exchange for a US commitment on a withdrawal, would guarantee Afghanistan would not be a sanctuary for militants to expand and plot new attacks, both sides have said.

Kabul wedding blast
The blast occurred near the stage where musicians were and "all the youths, children and all the people who were there were killed," witness Gul Mohammad said. Image Credit: Twitter

Details on what happened

More than 1,000 people had been invited, one witness said, as fears grew that it could be the deadliest attack in Kabul this year. Rahimi told The Associated Press the attacker set off explosives among the wedding participants. The venue was the Shahr-e-Dubai wedding hall in the capital city.

The bomber struck the men's reception area, officials said.

"Everybody was running," a waiter at the hall, Sayed Agha Shah, said after the blast.

"Several of our waiters were killed and wounded." Wedding halls have become a big business in Kabul as the Afghan economy slowly picks up and families spend more on celebrations.

Shattering the peace

The blast at the Dubai City wedding hall in western Kabul shattered a period of relative calm.

A look at some of the worst incidents in Kabul since 2008
August 17: A suicide bombing at a packed wedding hall in Kabul kills at least 63 and wounds 182. The Taliban deny responsibility, but no other group immediately comes forward.

December 24: An hours-long bomb and gun attack on a Kabul government compound kills at least 43 people. The Taliban denies responsibility.
November 20: A suicide bomber blows himself up among religious scholars inside a Kabul wedding hall, killing at least 55 people. The attack is unclaimed.
April 22: An Islamic State bomber kills 57 people, all civilians, outside a voter registration centre amid preparations for legislative elections.
January 27: An ambulance packed with explosives detonates in a crowded street in the heart of Kabul, killing 103 people, according to an official toll. The attack, which kills many police officers, is claimed by the Taliban.

October 20: A suicide attack during Friday evening prayers at a Kabul Shiite mosque sees 56 people killed and 55 wounded. Daesh claims responsibility.
May 31: More than 150 are killed and 400 wounded when a massive truck bomb rips through Kabul's diplomatic quarter during rush hour. The attack, which is not claimed, is the deadliest in the capital since 2001.
March 8: Gunmen disguised as doctors storm Afghanistan's largest military hospital in a six-hour attack. The official death toll is 50 but security sources and survivors say it exceeded 100. The attack is claimed by Daesh.

July 23: Twin explosions rip through crowds of Shiite Hazaras in Kabul, killing at least 84 people. It marks the first major Daesh assault on the capital.
April 19: A truck bomb followed by a shootout leaves 64 people dead and nearly 350 injured in central Kabul in a Taliban-claimed attack.

December 6: An attack in Kabul targeting the Shiite minority on the holy day of Ashura kills 80 people. The Taliban denies responsibility.

July 7: 60 people, including two diplomats and two Indian guards are killed in a suicide car bombing on the Indian embassy in the capital. The Taliban say they were not involved.

Numerous attacks have been carried out in the rest of Afghanistan. In the most deadly 140 people, including more than 50 auxiliary police officers, are killed in the southern city of Kandahar in February 2008.


On August 7, a Taliban car bomb aimed at Afghan security forces detonated on the same road, killing 14 people and wounding 145 - most of them women, children and other civilians.

Kabul's huge, brightly lit wedding halls are centers of community life in a city weary of decades of war, with thousands of dollars spent on a single evening.

"Devastated by the news of a suicide attack inside a wedding hall in Kabul. A heinous crime against our people" how is it possible to train a human and ask him to go and blow himself (up) inside a wedding?!!" Sediq Seddiqi, spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani, said in a Twitter post.

Messages of shock poured in on Sunday. "Such acts are beyond condemnation," the European Union mission to Afghanistan said.

"This heinous and inhumane attack is indeed a crime against humanity," Afghanistan's Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said.

The city's wedding halls also serve as meeting places, and in November at least 55 people were killed when a suicide bomber sneaked into a Kabul wedding hall where hundreds of Muslim religious scholars and clerics had gathered to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The Taliban denied involvement in an attack that bore the hallmarks of the Islamic State affiliate.

Saturday night's explosion came a few days after the end of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, with Kabul residents visiting family and friends, and just before Afghanistan marks its 100th independence day on Monday under heavier security in a city long familiar with checkpoints and razor wire.

- More to follow, refresh for updates; With inputs from AP, Reuters