Ahmed Khan Samangani, prominent MP, killed in Afghanistan wedding attack


A policeman takes a photo with his mobile phone in the building from which insurgents launched an attack in Kabul on April 16, 2012. Afghanistan said its forces regained control of Kabul on April 16, after killing Taliban militants, some disguised as women in burqas,who launched one of the biggest attacks on the capital in a decade of war.



A suicide bomber pretending to be a guest blew himself up at a wedding in Afghanistan early today, killing a major lawmaker and father-of-the-bride as well as some 20 other people, reported the Associated Press.

The bold assault comes a day after a car bomb killed a leading female politician, said AP. Both attacks add to mounting security concerns ahead of the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan. 

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The large wedding party, which witnesses told BBC News was attended by about 100 people, was held in a three-story hall in Aybak, the capital of Samangan province, which lies in the normally less violent northern part of the country. 

Local criminal investigations director Mohammad Nawab Sherzai told AP that all of a sudden, the attacker "got very close" to the father-of-the-bride, ethnic Uzbek parliamentarian Ahmed Khan Samangani and "detonated his suicide vest."

"It was a big explosion. There were bloody bodies all around the first floor. The explosion was so strong. There were people even on the third floor who were wounded," Sherzai told AP. "Everybody was running in different directions. For about 10 minutes, nobody knew what was happening."

Some 40 people were wounded by the blast, officials told BBC News.

The Taliban said they were not involved in the attack. Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters that Samangani "was notorious and many people could have had problems with him."

The Uzbek politician, long a prominent figure in Afghanistan, is also the member of a minority in a nation wracked by ethnic tension. 

A leading mujahideen militia commander during the group's guerilla war against the Soviets in the 1980s, Samangani joined parliament last year, where he was a vocal supporter of President Hamid Karzai, said BBC

He was also a known opponent of another powerful Uzbek politician in Afghanistan, General Abdul Rashid Dostum, according to the BBC's Kabul-based correspondent Bilal Sarwary