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Deadly Truck Bomb Rocks Kabul

  • VOA Staff

Afghan Municipality workers sweep a road in front of the German Embassy after a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, May 31, 2017.

A massive truck bomb exploded Wednesday morning in the diplomatic section of Afghanistan's capital, killing at least 90 people and wounding more than 300 others.

A security official speaking on condition of anonymity told VOA the casualty figures hours after the blast. Earlier, Afghan health ministry spokesman Wahidullah Majroh had put the number of deaths at 80, saying it could rise.

The bomb ripped through the central Wazir Akbar Khan area of Kabul, home to foreign diplomatic missions and government offices, damaging dozens of vehicles and surrounding buildings. Afghan officials said the explosives were packed in a sewage tanker.

Near German embassy

The bombing happened in an area not far from the German embassy. Pictures circulated on social media showed the blast turned a portion of the diplomatic mission into ruins. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Twitter an Afghan security guard was among those killed and that a number of employees were wounded.

The explosion also mostly devastated a nearby building, housing the main office of Roshan, the leading telecommunications service provider in Afghanistan.

An Afghan man reacts at the site of a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan, May 31, 2017.
An Afghan man reacts at the site of a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan, May 31, 2017.

Afghan security forces swiftly cordoned off the area and international troops arrived at the site to assist in rescue efforts.

Afghan television showed dozens of ambulances taking wounded people to hospitals, including women.

Claim of responsibility

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. The Taliban has denied involvement, saying the insurgent group has nothing to do with the bombing or any attacks that target civilians. The insurgents have lately intensified attacks on Afghans security forces, killing and wounding scores of them.

Islamic State has claimed attacks against high-profile Afghan targets in recent months, including a deadly suicide raid on the country's largest military hospital in Kabul in March.

That attack left at least 50 people dead, including soldiers and doctors.

WATCH: Raw video footage from scene of bombing


Condemnation

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani condemned Wednesday's blast as an “inhuman and cowardly attack” against innocent civilians in the holy Islamic month of Ramadan.

NATO’s U.S.-led Resolute Support military mission said the attack "demonstrates a complete disregard for civilians and reveals the barbaric nature of the enemy faced by the Afghan people.”

Neighboring Pakistan also denounced the terrorist attack, saying it has caused damage to the residence of Pakistani diplomats and staff, and inflicted minor injuries to some.

“The people and government of Pakistan extend their heartfelt sympathies and deepest condolences to the government and the people of Afghanistan and the bereaved families,” said a foreign ministry spokesman.

The latest violence comes as President Ghani is set to host a conference of neighboring and regional countries in Kabul next week to discuss ways to end an increasingly deadly Afghan conflict.

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