Dozens Killed In Afghanistan Wedding Hall Explosion As Concerns Mount Over Precipitous U.S. Withdrawal

Dozens of people were reportedly killed and more wounded Saturday in an explosion that detonated through a wedding hall in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Hundreds were inside the Dubai wedding hall in a region where the minority Shiite Hazara community predominantly reside, ABC News reports.

According to the Interior Ministry spokesman Nusrat Rahimi, the cause of the explosion remains unclear, and no terrorist has yet to claim responsibility for the blast.

The explosion comes after ten days of peace in the Afghan capital. Prior to the explosion Saturday, a Taliban car bomb directed at Afghan security erupted in Kabul, killing 14 civilians and wounding 145, comprised mostly of women and children.

Witnesses posted photos and footage from the scene where the explosion reportedly transpired.

Meanwhile, the Taliban and the United States are in the midst of finalizing a deal that would result in U.S. forces withdrawing from their longest-ever war in Afghanistan, one of the world’s poorest and weakest states.

The U.S. will reportedly agree to withdraw in exchange for a pledge from the Taliban promising they will not allow Afghanistan to be used to plot international militant attacks and commit to power-sharing talks with the U.S.-backed government to arrange a ceasefire.

Afghan officials warn U.S. withdrawal could increase violence in the region, inciting die-hard Taliban fighters to join forces with the Afghan affiliate of the Islamic State, known as Islamic State Khorasan, and continue jihad against those they see as infidels.

President Donald Trump held a meeting with his top national security advisers Friday to review the U.S.-Taliban peace plan.

Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, national security adviser John Bolton, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford and Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation were reportedly present for the meeting.

Some of the president’s Republican supporters are apprehensive over prospects of the U.S. precipitously withdrawing.

“I hope… President Trump and his team make a sound and sustainable decisions about radical Islamic threats emanating from Afghanistan – the place where 9/11 originated,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, usually a staunch ally of the president, warned.

U.S. troops “are not acting as policemen in Afghanistan,” he continued. “They are the frontline of defense for America against the reemergence of radical Islamic groups who wish to attack the American homeland.”

He concluded: “To trust the Taliban to control al-Qaeda, ISIS-K, and other radical Islamist groups present in Afghanistan — as a replacement for a US counter-terrorism force — would be a bigger mistake than Obama’s Iranian nuclear deal.”

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