Afghan President Pledges to ‘Eliminate All Safe Havens’ of Islamic State Group in Country After Sunday Wedding Hall Blast Left At Least 63 Dead, Including Children

  • On Monday, which celebrates Afghanistan’s 100th Independence Day, President Ashraf Ghani pledged to “eliminate all safe havens of the Islamic state group” in Afghanistan after a wedding attack by a local IS affiliate left at least 63 people dead on Sunday.
  • Ghani said: “We will take revenge for every civilian drop of blood. Our struggle will continue against (IS), we will take revenge and will root them out.”
  • Afghanistan is mourning the loss of the approximately 63 people, including children, who were “killed in the Kabul bombing at a wedding hall late Saturday night.” About 200 other people were injured in the blast.
  • The bomber “detonated his explosives in the middle of a dancing crowd, and the IS affiliate later said he had targeted a gathering of minority Shiites, whom it views as apostates deserving of death.”
  • The bride and groom both survived the blast, “and in an emotional interview with local broadcaster TOLOnews, the distraught groom, Mirwais Alani, said their lives were devastated within seconds.”
  • There are also concerns “that funerals and memorials could also be targeted.”
  • The wedding attack has left many Afghans wondering “whether an approaching deal between the United States and the Taliban to end nearly 18 years of fighting — America’s longest war — will bring peace to long-suffering civilians.”
  • The Taliban released a sharply-worded statement questioning “why the U.S. failed to identify Saturday’s attacker in advance. Another Taliban statement marking the independence day said to leave Afghanistan to the Afghans.”
  • In negotiations that have lasted nearly a year with the U.S., the Taliban wants the approximately 20,000 American troops remaining in the country to leave.
  • For its part, the U.S. “wants Taliban assurances that Afghanistan — which hosted al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden before 9/11 — will not be a launching pad for global terror attacks.”
  • Ghani insisted “that the Taliban, whom the U.S. now hopes will help to curb the IS affiliate’s rise, are just as much to blame for the wedding attack. His government is openly frustrated at being sidelined from the U.S. talks with the insurgent group, which regards the Afghan government as a U.S. puppet.”
  • Ghani also said that “the Taliban have created the platform for terrorists with their own brutal assaults on schools, mosques and other public places over the years.”
  • Additionally, “fresh violence was reported Monday as an Afghan official said at least 66 people were wounded in a series of explosions in the eastern city of Jalalabad. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.”

Reference Links

  • AP: Afghanistan vows to crush Islamic State havens after attack READ
  • RadioFreeEurope: Afghan President Vows To ‘Eliminate’ Islamic State Havens After Wedding Attack READ
  • TIME: Afghanistan Vows to ‘Eliminate’ Islamic State Safe Havens After a Horrific Attack Kills 63 People READ
  • VOA: Afghan President Vows to Eliminate IS Safe Havens After Wedding Attack READ

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