Afghanistan: Over 40 killed in suicide attack on religious gathering in Kabul

Afghan policemen keep watch at the site of the suicide attack. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team Kabul, Afghanistan Nov 20, 2018, 07.50 PM (IST)

A massive explosion which killed at least 43 people and injured at least 89 was reported at an Afghan religious gathering, the country's health ministry said. 

As per Tolo News, the explosion targeted an Ulema Council gathering at a wedding hall on Kabul's Airport road. The council had gathered to commemorate the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad.  

A manager of Uranus Wedding Palace, which also hosts political and religious functions, told AFP a suicide bomber blew himself up in the middle of the gathering of religious scholars. 

"The suicide bomber detonated himself inside the hall during a ceremony by religious scholar," Kabul police spokesman Basir Mujahid said, confirming the casualty toll.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast.

Officials at Kabul's Emergency Hospital said 30 ambulances had rushed to the blast site. The victims were taken to Kabul Emergency Hospital. 

It follows a wave of violence across war-torn Afghanistan in recent weeks that has killed hundreds of people as militants step up attacks. 

It is the bloodiest assault in the Afghan capital since a twin bomb attack on a wrestling club in September that killed at least 26 people.

Last month's parliamentary elections sparked a wave of deadly violence across the country, with hundreds killed or wounded in poll-related attacks.

US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad expressed hopes in Kabul on Sunday that a peace deal to end the 17-year war could be struck before the Afghan presidential election, scheduled for April.

His comments underscore an apparent increasing sense of urgency in the White House and among American diplomats for a peace deal to be done quickly.

Story highlights

At least 89 people were injured in the attack, health ministry spokesman Wahid Majroh said. The attack targeted an Ulema Council gathering at a wedding hall to mark the Prophet Muhammad's birthday.