Kabul explosion kills 40 at gathering of clerics

Afghan policeman keep watch at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul Afghanistan

The suicide bomber was able to sneak into a wedding hall in Kabul where hundreds of Muslim religious scholars and clerics had gathered to mark the holiday.

The first bomb attack was carried out by an assailant on a motorcycle, who blew himself up in the Shashdarak area close to the buildings of Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security in the heart of Kabul, officials said.

"Hundreds of Islamic scholars and their followers had gathered to recite verses from the holy Koran to observe the Eid Milad-un-Nabi festival at the private banquet hall", said Basir Mujahid, a spokesman for Kabul police.

The High Peace Council also condemning the attack said Afghan people will work for peace and stability despite all the challenges they may face in this way.

Glasse noted that the hall could hold up to 1,000 people.

TRT World's Sultan Faziy has more from Kabul.

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He declared Wednesday as a national day of mourning, saying the national flag will be flown at half-staff all in Afghan and diplomat missions overseas.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but both the Taliban and a local Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) affiliate have targeted religious scholars aligned with the government in the past.

However, another security source said at least 43 people have died and more than 80 others have sustained injuries in the attack.

"It is an attack on humanity", Ghani said.

The Taliban condemned the suicide bombing against the religious gathering, saying the insurgent group had nothing to do with the attack. "This attack also once again highlights the irresponsibility of countries in the European Union who claim Afghanistan is a safe place for refugees and asylum seekers to be returned to".

His comments underscore an apparent increasing sense of urgency in the White House and among American diplomats for a peace deal to be done quickly.

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