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At least 21 killed in Afghanistan wedding party shootout

By Andrew V. Pestano
At least 21 killed in Afghanistan wedding party shootout
At least 21 people were killed after a gunbattle took place at a wedding in Afghanistan. Violence and unrest in Afghanistan's Baghlan province is fueled by the Taliban's conflict against the government and by feuds between local criminal groups. File Photo by Matiullah Achakzai/News Lens Pakistan

KABUL, Afghanistan, July 27 (UPI) -- A gunbattle broke out during a wedding on Sunday in Afghanistan's northeastern Baghlan province, killing at least 21 people and injuring at least 10.

Most of the dead are reportedly wedding guests. The ages of the deceased range between 14 and 60.

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The battle took place after two armed groups began firing on each other over a dispute. There are worries the death toll could rise.

Interior Ministry spokesman Sediqqi said the ministry has ordered police in Baghlan to launch an investigation and search for those involved.

Violence and unrest in the Baghlan province is fueled by the Taliban's conflict against the government and by feuds between local criminal groups.

Recently, Taliban forces captured and released more than 100 police officers in northeastern Afghanistan after taking away their weapons following a a three-day battle for a police base in the Wardoj district of Badakhshan province.

Officials say a deal between the police and Taliban commanders facilitated the officers' release, which was reportedly confirmed in a Taliban statement. It is the largest surrender of Afghan forces since the NATO coalition officially handed over the security operation in December 2014.

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Fred Lambert contributed to this report.

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