Afghanistan: President vows to ‘eliminate’ Islamic State havens

KABUL (TCA) — Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani has vowed to “eliminate” all safe havens of the extremist Islamic State (IS) group after at least 63 people, including children, were killed in a Kabul bombing at a wedding hall late on August 17 claimed by a local IS affiliate, RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan reported.

Close to 200 others were wounded.

Ghani’s statement came as Afghanistan on August 19 celebrates the 100th anniversary of independence from the British.

“We will take revenge for every civilian drop of blood,” Ghani declared. “Our struggle will continue against [IS], we will take revenge and will root them out.” He urged the international community to join those efforts.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned the August 17 bombing in his congratulatory message on the anniversary.

“Sadly Afghanistan’s 100-year history has also been marked by conflict. The terrorist attack against a Kabul wedding hall this weekend is an attack against humanity,” the message said on August 18.

Pompeo said Afghans have much “to be proud of as you celebrate a century of resilience and cultural diversity.”

The attack on the wedding was the deadliest in Kabul this year and came with Washington and Taliban militants reportedly nearing a deal to end a nearly 18-year war.

U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad took to Twitter to denounce the “heinous attack.”

“We must accelerate the Afghan Peace Process including intra-Afghan negotiations. Success here will put Afghans in a much stronger position to defeat” the IS group, he wrote in a separate tweet.

The bombing hit a district of the Afghan capital more populated by Shi’ites than many other parts of the city.

IS and its sympathizers and affiliates have repeatedly targeted Shi’a in addition to other victims since they became active in Afghanistan in 2015.

Sergey Kwan

TCA

Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
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Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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