In a TV interview, Mirwais Elmi said his bride survived but his brother and other relatives were among the 63 people killed in Saturday’s attack.The Islamic State (IS) group has took responsibility of the bombing, which also wounded more than 180.
President Ashraf Ghani described the attack as “barbaric”.
He blamed the Taliban for “providing a platform to terrorists”. The Taliban, who are engaged in peace talks with the US, condemned the attack. In the interview with Tolo News, Mirwais Elmi recalled greeting smiling guests in the packed wedding hall only to see their bodies carried out hours later.
“My family, my bride are in shock, they cannot even speak. My bride keeps fainting,” he said. “I’ve lost hope. I lost my brother, I lost my friends, I lost my relatives. I will never see happiness in my life again. “I can’t go to the funerals, I feel very weak … I know that this won’t be the last suffering for Afghans, the suffering will continue,” he added.
The bride’s father told Afghan media that 14 members of his family had died in the attack. Despite the ongoing talks to try and end the 18-year US war, civilians across Afghanistan continue to suffer a mounting toll. The latest attack underscores how difficult the path to peace in Afghanistan will be: IS, who have a presence in eastern and northern Afghanistan and are fighting against both the government and US-led international forces, are not part of the talks.
An IS statement said that one of its fighters blew himself up at a “large gathering” while others “detonated a parked explosives-laden vehicle” when emergency services arrived. The attack took place in a district populated mainly by Shia Muslims. Sunni Muslim militants, including the Taliban and the Islamic State group, have repeatedly targeted Shia Hazara minorities in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Speaking from a hospital bed, wedding guest Munir Ahmad, 23, said his cousin was among the dead. “The wedding guests were dancing and celebrating when the blast happened,” he told AFP news agency. “Following the explosion, there was total chaos. Everyone was screaming and crying for their loved ones.” Afghan weddings often take place in large halls where men are segregated from the women and children.
The Taliban would also begin negotiations with an Afghan delegation on a framework for peace including an final ceasefire. The militants have been denying to negotiate with the Afghan government until a timetable for the US withdrawal is agreed upon. The Taliban now control more territory than at any point since they were forced from power in 2001.