Officials say clash between guests also left 10 others wounded.
At least 20 people were killed when a gunfight broke out at a wedding party in northern Afghanistan, officials said Monday, highlighting the fragile security situation in the war-torn country.
The clash, which police blamed on quarrels between guests, erupted late Sunday in Deh Salah district in Baghlan. The once-tranquil province has recently been plagued by growing insecurity as the Taliban insurgency spreads north from its southern and eastern strongholds.
“As a result of the clashes, 20 people were killed and 10 others were wounded,” provincial police spokesman Jawed Basharat told AFP, adding that the incident appeared to be the result of a local dispute.
Armed men traded verbal barbs before the gunfight broke out and the victims were all male guests at the wedding aged between 14 and 60, said district police chief Gulistan Qusani. “A local security official fired in the air after the verbal exchange heated up… and then both sides started trading fire,” Qusani told AFP, giving a higher death toll of 21.
Baghlan police spokesman Sultan Mohammad Ebadi said an official delegation had been sent to the site—a Tajik-dominated area that is largely unaffected by the Taliban insurgency—to investigate the matter.
Expensive and lavish weddings have become common since the Taliban were toppled in 2001, in contrast to their time in power when musical revelry and dancing were banned. But fatal gunfights and celebratory gunfire are woefully common at the ceremonies in a country battered by nearly 40 years of war.