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October Today in Terrorism

October 14, 2015: Wedding massacre in Afghanistan

On October 14, 2015 20 people were killed and 40 injured in a suicide attack on a wedding in the northern Afghan province of Samangan

AYBAK, AFGHANISTAN – Is there anything more tragic than having a joyous occasion like a wedding marred by a terrorist attack?

It is fairly certain we have all been to a wedding or two, either our own or that of a relative or friend. These are obvious joyous occasions where we cry, laugh, eat, drink, dance and have a helluva good time. Seeing one’s offspring (or relative or friend or…) meet and becoming a family with another human is a very special moment.

Yes, sometimes weddings can go sideways. Everyone I am sure has a story about a guest who does or says something that is at a minimum embarrassing and at worst very upsetting. It usually has to do with alcohol and a lampshade.

Hey! Who wants to do the macarena? (Photo: Dave on flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

At least we seldom if ever experience an act of serious violence at a wedding. On this day Afghans were not so lucky.

On this day in 2015

20 people, including a member of parliament, were killed and about 40 others injured in a suicide attack in the northern Afghan province of Samangan. The terrorist actually embraced legislator Ahmad Khan, a former militia commander, in front of guests at his daughter’s wedding before detonating the explosives strapped around his waist. The police chief for western Afghanistan was also killed.

The bride and groom survived, but never got the chance to exchange vows. The wedding hall’s floor was covered with shattered glass, blood and other debris.

I came out and saw 40 to 50 people everywhere on the ground – wounded and killed. I could see people with missing legs and body parts all around me.

Eyewitness

I happen to think that attacking a celebration of marriage is a particularly low thing to do. Then again, I have come to expect particularly low things from terrorists, who are, let’s face it, low-lifes. You can quote me on that.

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. and Director of the National Security programme at the University of Ottawa’s Professional Development Institute (PDI). Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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