Kabul: At least 18 people were killed and several others wounded when a suicide bomb ripped through a banquet hall in a northern neighbourhood of Afghanistan's capital of Kabul on Thursday, police and witnesses said.
"A terrorist wearing an explosives-packed jacket tried to enter Qasr-e-Naween Hall at midday in Khair Khana Mina locality shortly before a political gathering ended," Kabul police spokesman Basir Mujahid said.
The Islamic State's Khorasan faction claimed responsibility of the bombing. He said the police intercepted the attacker after identifying him but the assailant detonated his explosive, causing casualties. "The bomber struck at the front gate of the building. The victims included eight police officers and 10 civilians in addition to the bomber. Among the injured people were seven policemen and two civilians," he said.
The meeting was held by supporters of Atta Mohammad Noor, Governor of northern Balkh province, and a senior member of Jamiat-e-Islami of Afghanistan, a major political party, witness Ahmad Farshad said. Several high-ranking officials, senior members of Jamiat and members of country's parliament were among the attendees of the meeting to honour Noor, he said.
The Taliban has rejected any involvement in the suicide attack. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid, in a statement, said "the group has no links with the explosion which took place in Khair Khana area of the city". Late last month, 30 people, including Fazil Ahmad, a member of Jamiat, were killed and 22 civilians wounded in a suicide bomb attack in western Ghor province.