A gunfight broke out at a wedding party in Afghanistan killing at least 21 people and injuring eight people, reports said Monday, citing an Afghan official. The clashes began Sunday in northern Afghanistan’s Baghlan province, which is witnessing a growing Taliban insurgency.
About 400 people had gathered at a private house to witness the wedding of a local cleric’s son and the clashes began after a family member was killed during the wedding in Andarab district late Sunday, the Associated Press (AP) reported, citing Jaweed Basharat, spokesman for the governor of Baghlan province. Most of the victims of the gunfight were wedding guests between the ages of 14 to 60.
"The clash broke out after a relative of a provincial police official was assassinated during the wedding party," Col. Gulistan Qasani, the police chief of Andarab, said, according to AP, adding: "When we collected the bodies it was difficult to determine who were the shooters and who were not, because I could not find any weapons."
Baghlan police spokesman Sultan Mohammad Ebadi said, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP), that an official delegation will be sent to the site of the clash for investigations. Baghlan and other northern provinces of the strife-torn country have been facing increased violence as the Taliban looks to reassert control over the region and destabilize a democratically elected government.
Gun fights and celebratory gunfire are common during Afghan weddings, AFP reported. In December, mortar rounds triggered by celebratory gunfire from wedding guests welcoming the bride to the groom’s house in the southern province of Helmand, killed 17 women and children.