Wedding ooze elegance, vibrancy and motivation for the unmarried to join the bandwagon. Just like other weddings, Afghan weddings are an affair with hundreds of thousands of guests celebrating for hours inside industrial-scale wedding halls where men are usually segregated from women and children.
But what started off as a day full with joy turned out toa bloodshed when an Islamic State suicide bomber targeted a packed Afghan wedding hall, killing at least 63 people in the deadliest attack to rock Kabul in months. The groom recounted greeting smiling guests in the afternoon, before seeing their bodies being carried out hours later.
“My family, my bride are in shock, they cannot even speak. My bride keeps fainting. I lost my brother, I lost my friends, I lost my relatives. I will never see happiness in my life again,” he said.
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 huge blast ripped parts of the ceiling off sending a wave of grief through a city grimly accustomed to atrocities. Reports say that the Sunni extremist group’s Afghan affiliate claimed responsibility for the blast, saying the bomber targeted the wedding because it was a gathering of Shia Muslims, who frequently are targeted in Sunni who are a majority of Afghanistan.
“The wedding guests were dancing and celebrating the party when the blast happened. Following the explosion, there was total chaos. Everyone was screaming and crying for their loved ones,” recounted an attendee who was seriously injured and whose cousin was among the dead.
President Ashraf Ghani condemned the act calling it “barbaric”, while Afghanistan’s chief executive Abdullah Abdullah described it as a “crime against humanity”. To mourn the lost souls, Ghani postponed celebrations which were scheduled for Monday to mark 100 years of Afghan independence from Britain.