South Asia

Afghanistan wedding party attack kills nine

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Nine people have been killed in an attack by unidentified gunmen on an Afghan wedding party, officials say.

Gunmen opened fire on two houses in Dur Baba district in Nangarhar province where a family was sleeping.

Among the dead were the groom, his father and of his brother, District Governor Hamesha Gul told the BBC.

Mr Gul, a cousin of the groom, said that guests and relatives were in the area to celebrate the marriage. No-one has admitted carrying out the attack.

He said the gunmen identified one of the men in the wedding party as an "American spy". Nine people were injured in addition to those killed.

Officials say two groups of insurgents opened fire as guests and relatives were asleep. They say that all those killed were male civilians.

Mr Gul said that insurgents targeted his cousins because of his affiliation with the Afghan government, citing an earlier attack on Wednesday when insurgents burned the house, vehicles and wooden beds of a villager who had hosted him for lunch.

The BBC's Bilal Sarwary in Kabul says that Mr Gul is a strong anti-Taliban figure with powerful connections among local tribes.

Our correspondent says that the attack is one of series in which the insurgents have targeted such figures.

The district of Dur Baba lies on the border with Pakistan and has long been a key smuggling route for weapons, drugs and electronic goods into Pakistan.

But in the last year there has been a increasing number of insurgents in the area.