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22 killed, 13 injured in Baghlan wedding gunfight

AT-KABUL: A gunfight at a wedding party in northern Baghlan province left 22 people killed and another 13 injured including children, officials said on Monday.

The gunfight broke out between two illegal armed groups, attending the wedding in Deh Salah district of Baghlan on late Sunday night.

A music party was under way in Sheshan village, when members of the two armed groups started shooting each other as result of a verbal dispute, Baghlan Police Chief, Jabar Pardaly, told Afghanistan Times.

Another police official, who preferred anonymity, said most of the killed persons are members of the two armed groups, but at least eight local residents were also killed in the gunfight.

A number of children were also among the victims, who were also attending the party.

The injured guests at the wedding were shifted to hospitals and were now out of danger and the dead bodies were returned to their relatives on Monday morning, official said.

Armed groups, being backed by warlords and commanders, deteriorated security situation in dozens of Northern provinces. Most of the armed men justify having arms by saying they were defending their areas against the Taliban militants.

The provincial police chief said that about 1,500 illegal armed people are present in Baghlan and challenging writ of the government.

“We have asked the concerned high-ranking officials to dispatch additional police force in order to disarm the armed people and maintain law and order situation in the province,” he said.

The district, where the incident took place, has been one of the calm districts, but illegal armed groups were active there, a member of the Wolesi Jirga or Lower House of the Parliament, who wished anonymity, told Afghanistan Times.

“The illegal armed groups are more dangerous to social security of our people and government must disarm them, otherwise there will more such deadly incidents,” he said.

The lawmaker said that despite local people for months criticized and asked the government to disarm the illegal armed groups, the relevant authorities did not pay heed.

Two days back, suspected Taliban fighters kidnapped 11 civilians in Dandi Ghori district of Baghlan. There is no information related to whereabouts of the kidnapped civilians. However, police say that they are trying to rescue the abductees.

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