The death toll from a suicide bomb attack on a wedding reception in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, has risen to 80, two senior officials said.
The initial death toll after the Saturday blast was 63, but some of those wounded died, said Nasrat Rahimi, a spokesman at the interior ministry.
“Seventeen others succumbed to injuries in hospital and over 160 are being treated either in hospitals or at home,” Rahimi said.
Among the 160 people wounded at the wedding blast, many are critical, some not well enough to undergo surgery, said a second senior interior ministry official.
The Islamic State (IS) militant group claimed responsibility for the attack.
Mirwais Elmi Mohammadi, the 26-year-old groom whose wedding party was attacked, was in a complete state of disbelief and had no mental strength to attend funerals of relatives and friends.
“To see family members die or be injured at my wedding is a heavy burden of grief and regret,” Mohammadi told Reuters.
Many Afghans cancelled or scaled back plans for weddings and other festivities in recent days and demand government tightens security to protect society.
At least 3 812 civilians were killed or wounded in the first half of 2019 in the war against militant groups, including an increase in casualties caused by government and foreign forces, the United Nations said in July.
Police said more than 25 weddings were postponed in Kabul after the latest suicide attack renewed fears about the IS threat at a time when the United States and the Taliban appear to be nearing a deal on a US troop withdrawal.
“We pay taxes to government and it is the responsibility of government to provide us with security. We have the right to be protected,” said Mohammad Nader Qarghaie, head of the union of wedding halls.
A frustrated Mohammad Ashraf, who owns a food catering business in Kabul, said civilians had to be protected.
“Afghans are used as pawns by foreign countries and militant groups to prove their strength,” Ashraf said.
On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump said the U. military role in Afghanistan has turned into a “ridiculous” police force in a sign he was open to a US troop drawdown after a deal with the Taliban.