Afghanistan vows to crush Islamic State havens after attack


Islamic State (IS) fighters, who first appeared in Afghanistan in 2014 and have since made inroads in the east and north, are not involved in the talks. The mountainous province provided shelter for al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden for almost a year following the Taliban's ouster from power in late 2001, and U.S. forces struggled for years to capture and hold high-altitude outposts there. On Aug. 7, a Taliban vehicle bomb aimed at Afghan security forces detonated on the same road, killing 14 people and wounding 145 - majority women, children and other civilians.

Mr. Trump on Sunday told reporters he doesn't want Afghanistan to be a "laboratory for terror".

About 20,000 foreign troops, majority American, are in Afghanistan as part of a US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation mission to train, assist and advise Afghan forces. The Taliban denied being behind it.

Ali's workers were still finding body parts, including hands, in the shattered wedding hall, its floor strewn with broken glass, pieces of furniture and victims' shoes.

The blast occurred in a western Kabul neighborhood that many in the minority Shiite Muslim Hazara community call home. The Afghan Interior Ministry said that the attack had been carried out by a suicide bomber.

In the interview with Tolo News, Mirwais Elmi recalled greeting smiling guests in the packed wedding hall only to see their bodies carried out hours later.

In his own emotional interview, the distraught groom Alami told local broadcaster TOLOnews that their lives were devastated by the bombing.

"I've lost hope. I lost my brother, I lost my friends, I lost my relatives".

Kabul's huge, brightly lit wedding halls are centres of community life in a city tired of decades of war, with thousands of dollars spent on a single evening.

One witness said there may have been as many as 1,000 people in attendance.

Stocks move higher to end turbulent week
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) was down 800 points, NASDAQ down over 240 points, and the S&P 500 dropping 85 points. The yield rose as high as 1.54% by Thursday afternoon, though, which appeared to put some investors in a buying mood.

While the Taliban earlier this year pledged to do more to protect civilians, it continues to stage deadly attacks against Afghan security forces and others in what is seen by many as an attempt to strengthen its position at the negotiating table.

Taliban can not absolve themselves of blame, for they provide platform for terrorists.

An Afghan cleric reads the holy Koran over the grave of a civilian during a burial ceremony. Afghanistan is marking the 100th anniversary of its independence today.

The U.S. envoy in the talks, Zalmay Khalilzad, said Sunday that the peace process must be accelerated, including holding talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government and other Afghans.

"We are just exhausted of this life", Ramin said of the decades of war and insurgency that Afghanistan has endured.

Last month, after meeting with President Trump, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan insisted he will do his best to persuade the Taliban to open negotiations with the Afghan government to resolve the war.

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack, while the Taliban has condemned it. "We can probably make it a little bit smaller and then we'll decide", he said, adding: "It'll depend on the Taliban, it'll depend on the Afghan government".

How are Afghan peace talks progressing?

Experts say those talks could collapse or drag on for years, threatening the durability of the Afghan army and further emboldening militants.

The explosion shattered more than a week of calm in the Afghan capital.