Bombing in diplomatic area of Kabul kills 80, wounds scores

Dora Pope
June 1, 2017

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said a security guard at the embassy was killed and some staff were wounded.

As many as 80 people were killed while over 300 were left injured when a massive blast went off in the heart of Kabul's diplomatic district on Wednesday, according to Afghan health ministry.

"Our fighters do not have the permission to cause such a huge blast without a clear target", said Taliban spokesman Zabehullah Mujahid in a statement, claiming the group condemns attacks that cause civilian casualties.

There has been no claim of responsibility in Wednesday's attack, but it highlights the deteriorating security situation across Afghanistan.

The blast was the latest in a series of attacks in the Afghan capital.

Separately, the US Embassy said it did "not appear to have been the target of the blast", a spokesperson said.

"It is with great sadness that the BBC can confirm the death of BBC Afghan driver Mohammed Nazir following the vehicle bomb in Kabul earlier today, as he was driving journalist colleagues to the office", the BBC said in a statement.

The sound of the bomb, which went off near Kabul's busy Zanbaq Square, reverberated across the Afghan capital, with residents comparing it to an natural disaster.

The blast blew in the doors and windows of the embassy building, Esme Nicholson reports for NPR from Berlin.

Najib Danish, deputy spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said the bomber detonated his truck filled with explosives close to a busy intersection, leaving a gaping crater at least five metres deep.

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Jessica Donati, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal who was at the paper's bureau in the Green Zone at the time of the blast, told CBS News that she "found everything, all the glass shattered". It says embassy officials also reported some minor damage to the building, such as broken windows but that there are no other reports of injuries or damage involving Japanese nationals in Kabul.

The bombing raises serious questions about the Afghan government's ability to provide basic security.

An injured man is cairred after a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, May 31, 2017.

The U.S. -led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation coalition, Operation Resolute Support, said in a statement that the bombing happened near its headquarters and the German Embassy.

A statement from the Ministry of Interior Affairs says it "condemns in the strongest terms the terrorist attack" that killed so many, including women and children.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani strongly condemned the attack, which came just days into the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Today's bombing in a crowded area of central Kabul was yet another reminder of how deadly the war has become for ordinary Afghan civilians.

Afghan troops are backed by United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces, and the Pentagon has reportedly asked the White House to send thousands more soldiers to break the deadlock in the battle against the Taleban.

U.S. President Donald Trump is due to decide soon on a recommendation to send 3,000 to 5,000 more troops to bolster the small North Atlantic Treaty Organisation training force and U.S. counter-terrorism mission now totalling just over 10,000.

Other reports by My Hot News

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