Updated Aug 18, 2019

Islamic State claims responsibility for Kabul wedding bombing

Afghan investigators at the scene of the deadly wedding hall bomb blast in Kabul. Photo: Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images

A suicide bombing at a Kabul wedding party killed at least 63 people and wounded 182 others Saturday night, the Interior Ministry said.

What's new: The Islamic State's local affiliate claimed responsibility for the bombing, according to AP. It's the deadliest attack in Kabul this year and comes as the U.S. and the Taliban are in the midst of negotiating a U.S. troop withdrawal deal, AP reports.

The big picture: The bombing took place at the Dubai City wedding hall in western Kabul, where many in the minority Shiite Hazara population live.

  • The Afghan government has been sidelined from U.S. withdrawal negotiations, with government officials saying earlier Saturday they were waiting to hear the results of President Trump’s meeting Friday with his national security team about the talks, per AP.
  • The Taliban denied it was involved in the bombing, which it "strongly condemned," the BBC reports.

Go deeper: U.S. pushes toward “face-saving way out" of Afghanistan

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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Islamic State presence grows in Afghanistan as U.S. mulls withdrawal

Afghan security officials inspect the scene after an overnight suicide bomb blast that targeted a wedding reception in Kabul. Photo: Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The official government line in Afghanistan is that the Islamic State has been defeated — but local leaders tell a different story, the Washington Post reports.

The state of play: Talks between the U.S. and the Taliban on removing U.S. troops from Afghanistan have been ongoing for months, while the Islamic State's growing threat has not been addressed.

Go deeperArrowAug 21, 2019

Trump: I called off secret meeting with Taliban in U.S. over Kabul blast

President Trump at the White House, Sept. 4. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Saturday night that he's called off a secret meeting with Taliban leaders planned for Sunday at Camp David after a bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan.

"Unbeknownst to almost everyone, the major Taliban leaders and, separately, the President of Afghanistan, were going to secretly meet with me at Camp David on Sunday. They were coming to the United States tonight. Unfortunately, in order to build false leverage, they admitted to an attack in Kabul that killed one of our great great soldiers, and 11 other people. I immediately cancelled the meeting and called off peace negotiations."
Go deeperArrowUpdated Sep 8, 2019

Taliban bombing in Kabul kills U.S. soldier

Security forces stand guard after a Taliban-claimed suicide car bombing in Kabul. Photo: Sayed Khodaberdi Sadat/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

A Taliban suicide car bombing in Kabul on Thursday killed an American soldier, reports AP. The incident marks the 16th U.S. service member death in Afghanistan in 2019.

The big picture: It's the second attack by the group this week, despite ongoing Taliban-U.S. peace talks in Qatar. The bomb exploded in a diplomatic area of the capital near the U.S. Embassy and other foreign buildings and also killed a Romanian soldier and at least 10 Afghan civilians. Afghan government officials, who have been excluded from the peace talks, have warned the U.S. that pulling out of the country too quickly could push it toward civil war.

Go deeper: Afghanistan peace talks: U.S. pushes toward "face-saving way out"