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By Fazul Rahim

KABUL, Afghanistan — At least 21 people were shot dead at a wedding after an argument turned violent, a police chief in northern Afghanistan told NBC News on Monday.

The shooters were guests at the event and believed to be members of illegal local militias, rather than militant groups such as the Taliban or al Qaeda, provincial chief Gen. Abdul Jabar Purdeli said.

"They started firing indiscriminately" into the crowd after a dispute over local rivalries, Purdeli added.

Related: Are Afghans Ready for the Taliban's Return?

Most of the people killed at Sunday's event in the village of Charkara in northern Baghlan province were civilians, according to the police chief. The victims included two children.

Eight other people were wounded, Purdeli said.