Posted On Sunday, July 15, 2012 at 12:52:05 PM
Mazar-i-Sharif: A suicide bomber killed 17 people including a prominent Afghan lawmaker at his daughter’s wedding party in the country’s north on Saturday, officials said.
Ahmad Khan Samangani, an ethnic Uzbek and anti-Soviet guerrilla leader in the 1980s, who later became amember of parliament, was welcoming guests to his daughter’s wedding when the attacker embraced him, detonating the explosives strapped around his waist.
Afghan men inspect the damaged wedding hall in Samangani province. (Below) Ahmad Khan Samangani was a prominent warlord-turned-politician and MP
President Hamid Karzai’s office said in a statement that 17 people were killed and 43 wounded, revising an earlier statement that said 23 were killed in the attack in Aybak, the capital of the normally peaceful Samangani province.
Provincial intelligence chief Mohammad Khan was among those killed at the celebration attended by other high-ranking government officials who were also wounded.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but officials blamed the attack on “enemies of Afghanistan”, a term used to refer to Taliban. Karzai also appointed a team to investigate.
Guest turns killer
Witnesses said windows of the wedding hall were shattered and blood-stained turbans, shoes and clothes could been seen around the hall.
The attacker apparently disguised himself as a guest and blew himself up at the entrance of the hall, where Samangani and other high-ranking local officials were welcoming guests.
Mohammad Sherzai, criminal investigations director in Aybak who was helping provide security for the wedding, said most guests had gathered on the second and third floors of the wedding hall when the morning explosion occurred.
Samangani was welcoming guests arriving from Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of neighbouring Balkh province.
“Suddenly, the attacker, who was among the guests, got very close to Samangani. He detonated his suicide vest,” Sherzai said. “The explosion was so strong there were even people on the third floor who were wounded.
For about 10 minutes, nobody knew what was happening,” he said.“There was dark smoke all around.”Samangani became famous during fight against the Soviets, who left the country in 1989 after a 10- year occupation.
He became an MP last year and was considered a key leader in Samangani and northern Afghanistan.