Not more than 35 wedding party guests were killed, with 13 others injured during a nearby army raid by Afghan government forces on a nearby militant hideout.
Two officials in southern Helmand province who confirmed the attack said on Monday that the house being used by the Taliban to train suicide bombers was located adjacent to the bride’s home that came under fire during Sunday night’s attack.
A senior Afghan Defense Ministry official said the raid was against “a foreign terrorist group actively engaged in organizing terrorist attacks”.
The official said, “During the operation, a large warehouse of the terrorists’ supplies and equipment was also demolished.”
According to a second Afghan Defense Ministry official, a foreign militant detonated a suicide vest that killed him and others around him, including a woman.
“The compound was being used to train men and women who were willing to become suicide bombers, we raided it. We are aware that civilians were injured in the attack,” he said.
The Defense Ministry disclosed that the Taliban hideout was also used by foreign nationals working for the hardline Islamist group.
“As a result of a joint operation in Musa Qala district of Helmand, 22 Taliban members were killed and 14 others arrested,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that five Pakistanis and one Bangladeshi national were among those arrested.
Bombing, air strikes and ground clashes between the U.S. backed Afghan forces and hardline Islamist groups have increased following the failure of the U.S.-Taliban talks and ahead of the presidential polls next week.
In 2001, the United States sent forces to Afghanistan to oust Taliban leaders after they refused to hand over members of the al Qaeda militant group behind the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Since then, the U.S. forces have supported the Afghan forces in war against the al Qaeda, Taliban and Islamic State militant groups.