An Afghanistan wedding attack has left 22 people dead, and 10 wounded, according to Reuters.
The attack, which has been linked as a feud between two families, happened at the Andarab district of Baghlan province Sunday night.
Al Jazeera reported, via MSN, that one family was hosting a wedding, when a rival family arrived and started shooting at the male guests. Most of the victims who were killed ranged in age from 14 to 60.
“There was a wedding party, which turned to a tragedy, after some armed men entered and opened fire on male guests,” Baghlan police chief General Abdul Jabar Pordeli said during a telephone interview with Reuters.
“An investigation is ongoing and police will arrest all perpetrators,” the police chief added.
District police chief Color Gulestan said that there are approximately 2,500 armed members of illegal groups who operate in Deh Salah district where the wedding was taking place.
— VICE News (@vicenews) July 27, 2015
While one source reports a feud between families initiated the gunfire, the Agence France-Presse, via Yahoo News, says the shooting began after a quarrel started over a “dancing boy,” who had been brought to the event to serve as “entertainment.” The boy was one of casualties of the wedding.
“Bacha bazi,” which means “boy play,” is an ancient and outlawed practice prevalent across rural Afghanistan where young pubescent boys are sold for entertainment purposes or as sex slaves.
“As a result of the clashes, 22 people were killed and 10 others were wounded,” provincial police spokesman Jawed Basharat said on Monday, July 27, noting that armed men started arguing before any gunfire was exchanged.
“A local security official fired in the air after the verbal exchange heated up… and then both sides started trading fire,” district police chief Gulistan Qusani said.
Al Jazeera’s Qais Azimy said that there are frequent battles between familes, typically over land or other issues. While it is not uncommon for deaths to be reported over family feuds, the number of fatalities at this wedding were unusually high.
In December, Afghan soldiers accidentally fired mortars at a wedding party, and ended up killing 17 women and children. Witnesses believe that the mortars were fired mistakenly after celebratory gunshots were fired into the air as the bride was taken to the groom’s home.
During the first four months of 2015, civilian casualties have risen by 16 percent in Afghanistan, with a total of 2,937 civilian casualties over the period. In 2014, the United Nations reports that more than 10,000 Afghan civilians were killed or injured by insurgent attacks, the highest number since they started tracking in 2009.
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