Kabul: A suicide bomber blew himself up on Saturday in a wedding hall in northern Afghanistan, killing more than 20 people including a well-known commander in an attack that deals a setback to efforts to unify the nation's ethnic factions, Afghan officials said.
Ahmad Khan Samangani, an ethnic Uzbek who is also a Member of Parliament, was welcoming guests to his daughter's wedding when the explosion occurred in Aybak, the capital of Samangan province.
No one has yet claimed responsibility for the blast. But in announcing their spring offensive on May 2, the Taliban said they would continue to target those who back the Karzai government and the US-led international military coalition. There is also a long history of conflict between the Taliban " who come mostly from the country's biggest group, the Pashtuns " and members of ethnic minorities.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai needs the minority groups " loosely known as the Northern Alliance " to back his efforts to reconcile with the Taliban. But minorities already worry that Karzai, a Pashtun, will make too many concessions to their Taliban enemies to achieve a peace deal to end the war. Whatever support for peace talks that Karzai has won from minority groups is likely to erode if militants continue to pick off their leaders one by one....more
12:52 PM, Jul 14, 2012