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Suicide Attack Kills 40 At Afghan Wedding Party

 A suicide bomb ripped through a wedding party in full swing in the Taliban's heartland in southern Afghanistan, killing at least 40 people and wounding dozens more, officials said on Thursday in Kandahar.   The blast
suicide attack kills 40 at afghan wedding party -...
PTI June 10, 2010 13:31 IST

 A suicide bomb ripped through a wedding party in full swing in the Taliban's heartland in southern Afghanistan, killing at least 40 people and wounding dozens more, officials said on Thursday in Kandahar. 

 The blast occurred late yesterday in a housing compound where men had gathered during the festivities, with female guests at a different house that was not hit, one witness said. Interior Ministry spokesman Zemeri Bashary said children were among the dead and wounded. 

 The family that was attacked included a number of Afghan police officers. The groom's brother and two of his cousins were in the police force, according to another cousin, Mohammad Alkozay. The groom survived the attack, but was injured.

 It occurred in Nadahan village in the Argandab district of Kandahar province, considered the spiritual home of the Taliban, and the focus of an upcoming US military operation.

 Bashary said the explosion hit the wedding party about 9 pm, and that it was a suicide attack. He said at least 40 people were killed and 74 were wounded in the blast. The bride and groom survived. 

Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi denied the group carried out the attack.  US military spokesman Col Wayne Shanks said the deaths were not the result of an airstrike, and said any suggestion otherwise was "Taliban misinformation." 

NATO said in a statement that no service members from the alliance were involved in the incident.  Agha Mohammed, who survived the blast, said the guests were all seated and having a meal when the explosion occurred, sending a huge fireball and smoke into the sky. 

He said the scale of the destruction caused by the blast was more than was common in a suicide attack.  "We have experience with war and this does not look like a suicide bombing," Mohammed said.

 At a news conference in Kandahar city, provincial Gov. Tooryalai Wesa held up a chunk of metal he said was from the site and described it as a piece of equipment usually used in suicide bombs.  He rejected the Taliban's denial of involvement in the attack.

  "The Taliban are doing two things at once," Wesa said. "On one side they target people who are in favor of the government, then at the same time they don't want people to know their real face."  NATO condemned the attack and said it would help Afghan police investigate the cause. (AP)

 

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