Afghan suicide bomber kills 23
At least 23 people have died after a suicide bomber blew himself up at a wedding reception in northern Afghanistan today.
A prominent politician was among those killed, and some 60 were wounded in the northern province of Samangan. The death toll makes the attack one of the most lethal in the country for months.
Influential Afghan lawmaker Ahmad Khan Samangani, who hosted the party, was among those killed, provincial governor Khairullah Anosh said. "It was Ahmad Khan Samangani's daughter's wedding. A suicide bomber blew himself up, killing and wounding dozens," Mr Anosh told Reuters.
The Taliban denied responsibility for the attack."We don't have a hand in this issue," spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said. "Ahmad Khan (Samangani) was a former commander of the mujahideen, he was notorious and many people could have had problems with him."
President Hamid Karzai said 23 people were killed and about 60, including government officials, were wounded in the attack, which he condemned and said was “carried out by the enemies of Afghanistan.” He ordered a team from Kabul to fly to the northern province to investigate the bombing.
Mr Samangani, a powerful political figure from Samangan province, was also a former mujahideen chief who fought against the Soviets in the 1980s, and against the Taliban during their 1996-2001 rule.
Afghans in some parts of northern Afghanistan, which is relatively peaceful compared with volatile southern and eastern parts of the country, hold ceremonies early in the morning.
Afghan lawmaker Ahmad Khan Samangani speaks in parliament in Kabul in this undated handout photo. He was killed today when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a wedding reception in Samangan province. Photograph: Afghan Parliament Press Office/Reuters
Civilians bear the brunt of the violence in Afghanistan, which is at its worst since the Islamist Taliban government was toppled by US-led Afghan forces more than a decade ago.
Taliban insurgents fighting against President Hamid Karzai's Western-backed government have carried out dozens of suicide attacks this year.
Nato said one of its service members was killed today in an insurgent attack in eastern Afghanistan. The death brings the death toll among foreign troops to 19 so far this month and a total of 234 so far this year.