Afghan police: Taliban suspected in wedding blast

By Rahim Faiez

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, July 15 2012 9:32 a.m. MDT

KABUL, Afghanistan — An initial investigation into a bloody weekend suicide bombing at a wedding suggests the Taliban and terrorists were responsible, Afghanistan's interior minister said Sunday.

A suicide bomber drew close to a warlord-turned-lawmaker at his daughter's wedding on Saturday, then blew himself up, killing the father of the bride and 22 others.

The Taliban have not claimed responsibility for the attack, nor have they denied that they carried it out.

The grisly attack showed again how militants still have the capability of causing havoc in Afghanistan, despite a decade-long U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan, and two and a half years before NATO is due to hand security responsibilities over to Afghan government forces.

Interior Minister Bismullah Khan Mohammadi was in Samangan province in northern Afghanistan on Sunday to attend the funeral of Afghan National Police Gen. Sayed Ahmad Sameh, the commander for the western region, who was killed in the attack.

The apparent target of the blast in the provincial capital of Aybak was Ahmad Khan Samangani, a well-known ethnic Uzbek who commanded forces fighting the Soviets in the 1980s and later became a member of parliament.

Samangani was welcoming guests to the wedding when the blast ripped through the building.

Also killed were Mohammad Khan, the intelligence chief in the province, and Mohammadullah, an Afghan National Army division commander who uses only one name.

About 60 other people, including government officials, were wounded in the explosion.

The interior minister said a government-appointed delegation was still investigating, but evidence already collected indicates the Taliban and terrorists orchestrated the bombing.

"They came yesterday and they have started their work to investigate this incident," Mohammadi said.

"Our police and the provincial governor of Samangan told me that some evidence has surfaced that indicates that Taliban and terrorists were involved," he said. "Since this incident just happened, they are continuing their work, and we are hopeful that we will be able to capture the perpetrators of this attack."

Also Sunday, a vehicle in a convoy transporting Afghan Minister of Higher Education Obaidullah Obaid hit a roadside bomb during a trip between Baghlan and Kunduz provinces. The minister was not riding in the car that hit the bomb and was not injured. Two of his bodyguards were slightly wounded, according to Abdul Majid, the governor of Baghlan, who was in the motorcade.

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