Kabul wedding hall blast kills 50, Afghan officials say

A suicide bombing at a wedding hall in the Afghan capital has killed at least 50 people and injured scores more, officials said, in one of the deadliest attacks to hit the city this year.

The blast ripped through a venue near Kabul’s international airport, where a gathering of religious scholars was taking place, the Afghan interior ministry said. The attack took place at around 6:15 p.m. At least 82 people were injured, the health ministry reported.

The blast was carried out by a suicide bomber, according to Najib Danish, spokesman for the interior ministry. The gathering was being held to mark the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed, he said.

No claim of responsibility has been made.

Despite diplomatic efforts to end the 17-year war in Afghanistan, the security situation in the country has deteriorated sharply in recent months.

In August, at least 34 people were killed in an attack that targeted an education center. Among the victims were thought to be dozens of teenagers studying English.

In September, 20 people, including two journalists, were killed in twin bomb attacks on a wrestling club for which ISIS claimed responsibility. The second blast was detonated after emergency services, journalists and police arrived at the scene.

In July, a UN report said the number of Afghan civilians killed in the first six months of 2018 had reached a record high. Almost 1,700 civilians were killed from January 1 to June 30, a total higher than at any comparable time over the last 10 years, according to the UN. Kabul was one of the most dangerous places in Afghanistan for civilians, the report said.