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Suicide car bomb kills 90 in Kabul's diplomatic quarter

Source: PTI
Last updated on: May 31, 2017 21:35 IST
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A powerful blast on Wednesday rocked Kabul’s high-security diplomatic area where the Indian embassy is located but all staffers at the Indian mission were said to be safe.

The ministry of health said that the death toll the explosion in the diplomatic enclave in Kabul has gone up to 90, while the number of injured has gone up to 400. It said that toll of deaths and injured can be expected to rise.

IMAGE: Injured Afghans run from the site of a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan. Photograph: Omar Sobhani/Reuters

The Al Jazeera web site, quoting officials, reported that it was a suicide car bomb attack, described as "one of the biggest" to have hit the Afghan capital.

Khamma Press quoted ministry of interior spokesman Najib Danish, as confirming that the incident had taken place close to Zanbaq Square in the city's 10th police district.

He was further quoted, as saying that a suicide bomber had detonated a vehicle packed with explosives in the area.

IMAGE: Relatives of Afghan victims mourn outside a hospital after the blast in Kabul. Photograph: Omar Sobhani/Reuters

Bodies littered the street and a towering plume of smoke could be seen over the Afghan capital after the suicide attack blew out the windows in a number of international missions and residences nearby. 

IMAGE: A man reacts at the site of a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan. More than an hour after the explosion, ambulances were still taking the wounded to hospital as firefighters struggled to control blazes in several buildings. Photograph: Omar Sobhani/Reuters

India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said all staff at the Indian Embassy were safe and not affected by the huge blast in Kabul's diplomatic enclave.

"By God's grace, Indian Embassy staff are safe in the massive # Kabul blast," Swaraj said in a tweet.

India's Ambassador to Afghanistan Manpreet Vohra said, "Massive Vehicle-borne improvised explosive device not too far from our embassy. Buildings, including ours, suffered considerable breakages, but all our staff are safe." 

IMAGE: The blast was so heavy that more than 30 vehicles were either destroyed or damaged at the site of the attackPhotograph: Omar Sobhani/Reuters

It was not immediately clear what was the target of the blast that occurred during the morning rush hour. 

IMAGE: A man holds an injured outside a hospital after a blast in Kabul. Photograph: Mohammad Ismail/Reuters

Houses hundreds of metres away from the blast site were damaged and windows and doors blown off their hinges. Bodies and injured people were seen in the area. Some women were seen screaming for the lost relatives at the site of explosion.

IMAGE: A woman sits outside a hospital after a blast ripped through Kabul's diplomatic square. Photograph: Mohammad Ismail/Reuters

The interior ministry called on Kabul residents to donate blood on Wednesday morning, saying hospitals were in 'dire need'. 

IMAGE: Smoke rises from the site of the blast in Kabul Photograph: Hamid Sayedi/Reuters

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the blast, but the attack came as the Taliban group steps up their annual “spring offensive”.

IMAGE: Cars and buildings near the blast were damaged with sources saying that at least 90 were killed or injured. Photograph: ANI/Twitter

The blast was the latest in a long line of attacks in the Afghan capital. Kabul province 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. 

IMAGE: The blast was the latest in a long line of attacks in the Afghan capital
Photograph: ANI/Twitter

The neighbourhood is considered Kabul's safest area, with foreign embassies protected by dozens of 10-foot-high blast walls and government offices, guarded by police and national security forces.

The German Embassy, the Foreign Ministry and the Presidential Palace are all in the area, as are the British and the Canadian embassies.

The Chinese, Turkish and Iranian embassies are also located there.
The French and German embassies were damaged by the massive bomb that ripped through Kabul's strongly fortified diplomatic quarter on Wednesday, a French minister said.


-- With inputs from Agencies

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