Kabul wedding groom says he ‘will never see happiness’ after bombing

Mirwais Elmi lost his brother and many other relatives and friends in the blast, which was claimed by ISIS

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A man who survived a suicide bombing attack on his wedding in Kabul says he has “lost hope”.

Saturday’s attack, claimed by ISIS the next day, killed 63 and injured 180 – including the bridegroom’s brother and close relatives of the couple. Both the bride and groom survived.

In an interview with Tolo News, Mirwais Elmi, 26, said his new wife was suffering greatly in the aftermath of the attack on Dubai City Hall, which Afghan President Ashraf Ghani called “barbaric”.

“My family, my bride are in shock – they cannot even speak. My bride keeps fainting,” he said.

“I’ve lost hope. I lost my brother, I lost my friends, I lost my relatives. I will never see happiness in my life again.”

Funerals for those killed during the wedding reception have been taking place since Sunday, but Mr Elmi can’t bring himself to attend.

“I can’t go to the funerals. I feel very weak,” he said.

“I know that this won’t be the last suffering for Afghans – the suffering will continue.”

The Saturday night attack came as the Taliban and the United States try to negotiate an agreement on the withdrawal of US forces in exchange for a Taliban commitment on security and peace talks with Afghanistan’s US-backed government.

Washington’s special envoy for reconciliation in the country, Zalmay Khalilzad, said the attack showed the need to accelerate efforts to reach a deal with the Taliban, to help defeat ISIS.

US President Donald Trump on Sunday called the attack “horrible” and expressed optimism at the state of talks. He said the United States would seek to get troop levels below 13,000 but leave “very significant” intelligence capabilities behind.

“We’re there for one reason – we don’t want that to be a laboratory, it can’t be a laboratory for terror,” Trump said, speaking before boarding Air Force One in New Jersey.

About 14,000 US troops remain in Afghanistan, training and advising Afghan security forces and conducting counterinsurgency operations.