The Wedding Day Massacre: An Ominous Afghan Tragedy

Apart from the tragic loss of the groom and many of his relatives, the attack by Pakistani militants indicates a once-stable province is now back in play

It was past midnight when the insurgents crossed into Afghanistan’s Dur Baba district on the border with Pakistan and began their descent. In the valley below, relatives of the district governor, Hamisha Gul, a tall, handsome man in his late 40s, had gathered at his compound to celebrate the impending marriage of his cousin Nawshir. The wedding would take place the next day and the plans were festive. Men would dance the traditional Pashtun attan to the beating of the tabla and the plucking of the rabab. At Gul’s pre-wedding party, dozens of men were taking advantage of the seasonal warmth to sleep out under the trees. That’s when the masked gunmen opened fire.

In total the Taliban-linked militants killed nine, all men, including Nawshir and his father Rozi Khan. Five more were wounded, and the attackers torched a nearby house and car for good measure, as well as briefly abducting one of the guests. Thursday saw villagers bury the man whose wedding they had come to celebrate. Hundreds gathered to pay their respects before shouldering the litters on which the bodies lay, draped in white shrouds, carrying them to fresh graves. Read the rest of this entry »