40 killed in bomb attack on Afghanistan wedding party

Around 40 people were killed and more than 70 were wounded in a “massive bomb” attack on a wedding party in the southern province of Kandahar, officials said Thursday.

The cause of the devastating blast was unclear, especially as insurgent attacks in the province, the heartland of the Taliban, are normally aimed at military or police targets and generally cause fewer casualties.

However, Kandahar governor Toror Yalai Wesa told Al Jazeera that a survivor said a car bomb caused the explosion, which occurred as the men sat down to eat during the celebrations.

The groom was a policeman from one of the checkpoints in the area, the governor said.

The attack took place on late Wednesday in Kandahar’s Arghandab district, said Zalmai Ayoubi, spokesman for the provincial governor said. “Right now I can say that dozens of people were killed and injured in the blast.” “It was a suicide bomber that targeted the wedding party,” a senior police official in the province, who declined to be named, said.

“According to our information 39 people were killed and 73 others were injured in the attack,” the official said. The groom and several children were among those injured.

Another official, who also spoke on state of anonymity, said the death toll could rise as the dead and injured were “rushed to different hospitals and a private clinic, we cannot give an accurate number now.” No group took responsibility for the blast, which took place some 15 kilometers north of Kandahar city.

Kandahar, the spiritual home for Taliban militants and their leaders’ headquarters until late 2001, is set to be a scene for a major operation by NATO--led troops this summer.

Thousands of extra US troops are expected to join other NATO allied forces in the region in the coming months. The military escalation is aimed at driving the militants out of Kandahar and stemming the rise of the militants in the volatile region.
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