Suicide Blast Kills 40 at Afghan Wedding
Afghan officials are blaming a suicide bomber for the attack on a wedding party that killed at least 40 people and wounded more than 70.
The blast ripped through the celebration in the Arghandab district of southern Kandahar province late Wednesday.
Guests at the wedding described seeing a huge fireball at the time of the explosion.
Video taken after the explosion showed blood covered victims -- some of them children -- wrapped in bandages at a local hospital while survivors gathered around the rows of coffins outside a hospital morgue.
On Thursday, the Deputy Commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan issued a statement placing blame for the bombing on the Taliban.
Lieutenant General Nick Parker, said the ruthless violence demonstrated "the Taliban's sickening and indiscriminate tactics" and proved the Taliban have no regard for human life.
In an interview Wednesday with the Associated Press, former Afghan intelligence chief Amrullah Saleh warned Afghan President Hamid Karzai from seeking reconciliation with the Taliban.
Saleh resigned earlier this week after militants attacked last week's peace conference in Kabul.
U.S. and NATO forces have been preparing for a new offensive against the Taliban in Kandahar. On Wednesday, the top U.S. military commander, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, offered his condolences to relatives of those killed in the attack.
The attack on the wedding is just the latest in a series of militant attacks in recent days.
Eighteen NATO troops have been killed since Monday, including four who died Wednesday after the Taliban shot down their helicopter in neighboring Helmand province.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has warned of a "very tough summer" of violence as U.S. forces push deeper into Kandahar. But he also says that he expects enough progress will be made to justify a continued presence in the country.