A wounded Afghan girl is rushed to a hospital in Helmand province December 31, 2014.
A wounded Afghan girl is rushed to a hospital in Helmand province December 31, 2014.Reuters

Mortar rounds from Afghan army has killed at least 26 civilians and wounded scores attending a wedding party in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province, officials have confirmed.

Officials have said that the artillery was fired from three directions at a village located in Sangin district where a wedding was being held on Wednesday.

"What we know so far is that our soldiers fired mortar rounds from three outposts but we do not know whether it was intentional," General Mahmoud, the deputy Commander of the Afghan 215 corps in the province was quoted by Reuters as saying.

"We have launched our investigation and will punish those who did this."

Gul Pasha Bakhtiar, deputy provincial police chief said that 26 civilians, including women and children, were killed while 41 others were wounded by the mortar shell fired from the army side.

A cousin of the bride, Abdul Haleem, who was hosting her wedding when the tragedy happened, said nine of his children were missing after the house was struck by the rocket.

"Nine children of mine are missing; I just collected body parts," he told AP. "I don't know whether it's my children or someone else."

Reports suggest hundreds of guests were present during the wedding ceremony.

The day the incident took place was the last day of the United States and NATO combat mission in Afghanistan, the BBC noted. From the New Year's Day 2015, the alliance's role will be only to train and support missions for the Afghan army.

More than a decade after NATO's afghan deployment and a long and expensive mission, the Taliban are still active and gaining strength in the country. The outfit has launched a number of attacks in recent months. The year 2014 has been the bloodiest in Afghanistan with at least 4,600 members of the Afghan security forces dead in the fight against the Taliban.

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