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Nov 16, 9:17 AM EST

Suicide bomber kills 14 at political meeting in Afghanistan

AP Photo
AP Photo/Rahmat Gul

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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- A suicide bomber killed 14 people at a political gathering in the Afghan capital on Thursday in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group.

Kabul police spokesman Basir Mujahid said another 18 people were wounded, and that the casualties included security forces and civilians. Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said the attacker struck at the entrance to the wedding hall where the event was being held.

The Islamic State group claimed the attack in a statement carried by its Aamaq news agency. The Taliban denied involvement.

Parliament member Hafiz Mansoor, who attended the meeting but was not harmed, said around 700 supporters of the governor of the northern Balkh province were attending a conference to highlight his work.

Afghan security forces have struggled to combat the Taliban and other insurgents since the U.S. and NATO shifted to a counterterrorism and support role at the end of 2014. The Taliban have seized a number of districts across the country, and both groups have carried out major attacks.

Both the Taliban and the Islamic State affiliate, which is largely made up of disgruntled former Taliban fighters, are at war with the government. Both groups want to impose a harsh version of Islamic law on Afghanistan, but they are fiercely divided over leadership, tactics and ideology, and have clashed on a number of occasions.

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