Kabul blast: At least 80 killed & over 350 wounded in explosion in Afghan capital’s embassy district
At least 80 people have been killed and over 350 injured in a powerful car bomb blast that ripped through a diplomatic district in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, an Afghan health official has said, as cited by Reuters.
However, the Afghan Interior Ministry said 64 people were killed, according to AFP.
The death toll is likely to rise, local officials said.
The blast, which is believed to have come from a car bomb, affected the German, French, Indian, and Iranian embassies. The precise target was not immediately clear, but many embassies and government buildings are located in the same area.
The blast struck at around 8:30am local time Wednesday.
The powerful blast destroyed more than 50 vehicles in the area, Pajhwok News reports.
Most victims are thought to be civilians, including employees of a local mobile phone company, Roshan, according to TOLO News.
Basir Mujahid, a spokesman for Kabul police, said the explosion was caused by a car bomb.
"It was a car bomb near the German embassy, but there are several other important compounds and offices near there too. It is hard to say what the exact target is," Mujahid said, as cited by Reuters.
Eyewitnesses on social media said the blast was so strong it shattered all windows in nearby buildings. Some doors were also torn off their hinges, Reuters reported.
Photos posted on Twitter showed a thick pillar of smoke rising from the site of the explosion.
It is still not clear if the German embassy was affected by the blast. A security source told Reuters there is no credible information so far claiming that members of the embassy staff were injured in the attack.
In the meantime, France’s foreign minister, Marielle de Sarnez, said the French embassy in Kabul has been damaged, but there are “no signs” at this stage indicating that there were victims among the employees.
The Indian Embassy reported damage to its facilities but no casualties.
Several journalists tweeted that their offices were damaged in the blast, including Jessica Donati, who writes for the Wall Street Journal, and the BBC’s Kabul bureau manager, Karim Haidari, who said the BBC staff were affected in the blast.
At this stage, no group has claimed responsibility for the devastating explosion, which appears to be the deadliest in the past few years. Last month, the Taliban announced the beginning of a “spring offensive,” promising to attack US-trained Afghan forces and foreign troops.
The US has 8,000 troops in Afghanistan to train Afghan forces and render support during counter-insurgency operations.
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