Massive blast rocks Kabul diplomatic quarter; 80 killed, 300 wounded

Wounded Afghan women gesture at the site of a car bomb attack in Kabul on May 31, 2017.— AFP
Wounded Afghan women gesture at the site of a car bomb attack in Kabul on May 31, 2017.— AFP

AGENCIES: At least 80 people were killed and more than 300 wounded when a massive bomb tore through Kabul’s strongly fortified diplomatic quarter during the Wednesday morning rush hour, Afghan officials said.

Health ministry spokesman Waheed Majroh gave the toll, which was confirmed by a second health official and the government media office, as the interior ministry urged Kabul residents to donate blood.

The explosion occurred during the morning rush hour in a busy part of the Afghan capital that houses many foreign embassies and government departments.

Bodies littered the scene and a huge plume of smoke rose from the area. However, it was not immediately clear what the target was.

Witnesses described dozens of cars choking the roads as wounded survivors and panicked schoolgirls sought safety, with men and woman struggling to get through security checkpoints to search for loved ones.

Afghan security forces personnel are seen at the site of the car bomb attack.— AFP
Afghan security forces personnel are seen at the site of the car bomb attack.— AFP

“A car bomb” exploded at 8:25am, Najib Danish, an interior ministry spokesman, told AFP. He said at least 40 people had been killed or wounded, but could not give a breakdown of the casualties.

A health ministry spokesman said more than 60 wounded people, mainly civilians, had been rushed to Kabul’s hospitals.

“By God’s grace, Indian Embassy staff are safe in the massive #Kabul blast,” India’s foreign minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted. The Indian embassy is among those close to the area.

Unclear whether German embassy staff is hurt

It is unclear whether German embassy staff in Kabul were injured or hurt when the car bomb exploded in its vicinity, a security source said.

“It’s unclear at the moment whether German staff have been affected,” the source told Reuters.

The source had earlier said, based on information available at the time, it did not seem that German staff had been injured or killed in the explosion.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the attack came as the resurgent Taliban are stepping up their annual “spring offensive”.

The militant Islamic State (IS) group has also claimed responsibility for several recent bombings in the Afghan capital, including a powerful blast targeting an armoured Nato convoy that killed at least eight people and wounded 28 on May 3.

Wednesday’s attack underscores spiralling insecurity in Afghanistan, where Afghan forces beset by soaring casualties and desertions are struggling to beat back the insurgents. More than one third of the country is outside government control.

Afghan troops are backed by US and Nato forces, and the Pentagon has reportedly asked the White House to send thousands more troops to the country to break the deadlocked fight against the Taliban.

US troops in Afghanistan number about 8,400 today, and there are another 5,000 from Nato allies, who also mainly serve in an advisory capacity — a far cry from the US presence of more than 100,000 six years ago.

Injured Afghan men arrive at a hospital after the blast in Kabul.— Reuters
Injured Afghan men arrive at a hospital after the blast in Kabul.— Reuters

Pentagon chief Jim Mattis has warned of “another tough year” for both foreign troops and local forces in Afghanistan.

The blast was the latest in a long line of attacks in Kabul. The province surrounding the capital had the highest number of casualties in the first three months of 2017 thanks to multiple attacks in the city, with civilians bearing the brunt of the violence.

A victim is carried away on a stretcher at the site of the bombing.— AFP
A victim is carried away on a stretcher at the site of the bombing.— AFP

One comment

  1. USA and NATO never learn and lack critical thinking on solving the Afghan Problem. Sending more troops will not solve the problem. The source of the problem lies in Pakistan which is a fake country created by UK with unnatural borders.
    Unless countries are with natural borders, there will not be homogeneous people and culture which will create mutual understanding and support. This will ensure that they try to live in peace rather than fight with each other.
    The only solution is – dismantling the fake state Pakistan, creating Independent Baluchistan, removal of durand line and handing over the Pashtun areas of Pakistan to Afghanistan, Creation of Sindhudesh along with Karachi.
    Handing over of Pak occupied Kashmir, Gilgit and Baltistan to India as the sovereignty of these areas lies with India legally.
    Finally , keeping the Punjab area as Pakistan. This is the only solution to contain terrorism in this area.
    As long as Pakistan remains, terrorism cannot be controlled. Till it is understood, US will keep bleeding. Even after Pak army has fooled US for almost a decade by keeping Osama in their back yard, still , US did’t learn. If they don’t learn, they will bleed.

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