Afghan MP among 20 killed in attack on funeral

December 26th, 2011 - 10:48 pm ICT by BNO News  

TALOQAN, AFGHANISTAN (BNO NEWS) — At least 20 people were killed on Sunday when a suicide bomber targeted a funeral in northern Afghanistan, officials said on Monday. A member of parliament was among those killed.

The attack happened just after 2 p.m. local time at a funeral ceremony near the city of Taloqan, the capital of the northern province of Takhar, when a suicide bomber blew himself up. Local police confirmed at least 20 people had been killed while as many as 55 others were injured.

Among those killed were nine tribal leaders and Matlab Baig, a member of the Wolesi Jirga from Takhar and Hafizullah Safi. The Wolesi Jirga is also known as the House of the People, the lower house of the country’s National Assembly.

General John R. Allen, the commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), condemned the attack. “These attackers are cowards, callously targeting and killing families and friends who had gathered to mourn a loved one,” he said. “Those responsible for this shameful act must only be interested in destruction, alienating themselves from the Afghan people. They are neither Afghan nor are they true Muslims.”

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul also condemned the attack and offered its condolences to the families of the victims. “This reprehensible attack on a funeral further illustrates that the Taliban and other insurgents are waging a murderous campaign against innocent Afghan civilians, including women and children, and exposes as false calls by [Taliban leader] Mullah Omar during the Eid al-Adha and other insurgent leaders on their followers not to kill civilians,” the Embassy said in a statement.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

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