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Explosion at Kabul gathering kills dozens

21 November 2018

The U.S. ambassador to Kabul, John Bass, tweeted that he was "sickened and saddened by tonight's terror attack".

Most of the people at the gathering were Sufis, a mystical branch of Islam, said Mehrab Danish, an adviser to the religious affairs minister. Afghan officials said the suicide bomber targeted a gathering of Muslim religious scholars.

Interior ministry spokesman Najibullah Danish told DW that the clerics had gathered at Uranus Wedding Palace in Kabul to celebrate the birth of Prophet Muhammad, when they were attacked in the early evening.

The attack drew widespread condemnation in Afghanistan and overseas, with the United Nations describing it as an "atrocity".

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet, but it bears the hallmark of attacks carried out by the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group, which has taken advantage of the chaos in Afghanistan and established a foothold in the war-torn country's eastern and northern regions. "The bomber definitely was trying to kill as many people as possible".

Kabul explosion kills 40 at gathering of clerics
Afghanistan suicide bomber kills scores of Muslim scholars

In October, Miller survived an attack by a Taliban fighter in the southern province of Kandahar in which a legendary Afghan police general and the local intelligence chief were killed, and two Americans were wounded.

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

But they are bitterly divided over leadership, ideology and tactics, with the Taliban mainly targeting security forces and government officials, and IS specializing in sectarian attacks on civilians.

It is not clear why the religious scholars were targeted on one of the holiest days in the Islamic calendar.

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

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Explosion at Kabul gathering kills dozens