At least 63 are dead after a bombing at a wedding in a Shia neighborhood in Western Kabul, Afghanistan. The local Islamic State affiliate has taken responsibility for the blast. IS said in a statement that one of its fighters blew himself up, while other fighters “detonated a parked explosives-laden vehicle.”
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid condemned the attack and said in a statement on Sunday, “Such barbaric deliberate attacks against civilians including women and children are forbidden and unjustifiable.”
US-backed Afghan President Ashraf Ghani also condemned the attack and said, “Taliban cannot absolve themselves of blame, for they provide platform for terrorists.”
The attack comes after peace talks in Doha between the Taliban and the US, there has been speculation of a deal to be made soon. Part of the deal will be a guarantee from the Taliban to keep al-Qaeda and ISIS affiliates from gaining a strong foothold in Afghanistan.
The Taliban has said for years they will only negotiate with the US-backed government after a full withdrawal of foreign troops. Although, there has been reports of the two sides doing some talking in Doha, the fighting has not slowed down.
Another condition of the deal would be negotiated power sharing between the Taliban and the US-backed government and a ceasefire between the two parties.
President Trump has said he wants US troops out of Afghanistan by 2020 and he tweeted on Saturday, “Many on the opposite side of this 19-year war, and us, are looking to make a deal – if possible!”
This tragic bombing will no doubt be used as an example of why the US must stay in Afghanistan indefinitely by critics of the US-Taliban peace talks.
Reuters ran a story about the bombing titled, “Peace with Whom? After Blast, Enraged Afghans Question Talks.” The story said, “Outraged Afghans questioned on Sunday the point of negotiations with the Taliban aimed at getting US troops to leave and ending the war.” The story came out before IS claimed responsibility for the attack and doubted the Taliban’s innocence, even though they had already condemned it.
Vox ran a story with quotes from Afghan journalists also doubting the Taliban’s innocence, after IS claimed responsibility. The story said, “US-Taliban peace talks are nearing their conclusion, but a terror attack in Afghanistan’s capital that killed at least 63 people gives credence to critics who claim the deal will be a disaster for Afghans.”