Sunday, 18 August 2019 11:13

Image:Reuters.

A bomb has exploded in a wedding hall in the Afghan capital, Kabul, killing 63 people and wounding more than 180.

The explosion took place on Saturday evening in an area in the west of the city mostly populated by Shia Muslims and women and children were among the casualties, interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said.

The Taliban denied they were behind the attack and no other group has admitted carrying out the bombing.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani strongly condemned the "inhumane attack" in a Tweet earlier today, adding that the "Taliban cannot absolve themselves of blame, for they provide platform for terrorists".

 I strongly condemn the inhumane attack on the wedding hall in Kabul last night. My top priority for now is to reach out to the families of victims of this barbaric attack. On behalf of the nation I send my heartfelt condolences to the families of those who were martyred.

— Ashraf Ghani (@ashrafghani) 18 August 2019

Afghan weddings often include hundreds of guests who gather in large halls where the men are usually segregated from the women and children.

The latest blast comes just 10 days after a huge bomb outside Kabul police station that killed at least 14 people and injured nearly 150.

Tensions in the country have been high even though the Taliban and the US, which has thousands of troops stationed in Afghanistan, are reportedly getting closer to announcing a peace deal.

The deal would include a phased US troop pullout in exchange for Taliban guarantees that Afghanistan will not be used by extremist groups to attack US targets.

The Taliban would also begin negotiations with an Afghan delegation on a framework for peace including an eventual ceasefire. The militants have been refusing to negotiate with the Afghan government until a timetable for the US withdrawal is agreed upon.