Thursday 27 July 2017

Suicide truck bomber kills 90 in 'safest' area of Kabul

An Afghan man reacts at the site of the blast in Kabul. Photo: Reuters
An Afghan man reacts at the site of the blast in Kabul. Photo: Reuters
Afghan Municipality workers sweep a road in front of the German Embassy after a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, May 31, 2017. (AP Photos/Rahmat Gul)
Afghan Municipality workers sweep a road in front of German Embassy after a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, May 31, 2017. (AP Photos/Rahmat Gul)
A damaged car is moved away after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail
Afghan officials inspect at the site of a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail
Afghan municipality workers sweep a road outside the German embassy after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017.REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail
Afghan municipality workers sweep a road outside the German embassy after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail
Injured Afghans run from the site of a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

Rahim Faiez

A massive suicide truck bomb rocked a highly secure diplomatic area of Kabul, killing 90 people and wounding as many as 400.

The attack left a scene of mayhem and destruction and sent a huge plume of smoke over the Afghan capital.

The target of the explosion in the Wazir Akbar Khan area was not immediately known, but Ismail Kawasi, spokesman for the Public Health Ministry, said most of the casualties were civilians, including women and children.

It was one of the worst attacks Kabul has seen since the drawdown of foreign forces at the end of 2014. The bombing also raised serious questions about the Afghan government's ability to secure the war-battered nation.

Images from the scene showed the German embassy and several others heavily damaged. Germany, Japan and Pakistan said some of their embassy employees were hurt in the explosion.

The BBC said one of its drivers was killed and four of its journalists wounded. Afghanistan's private Tolo Television also reported a staffer killed, and Germany said an Afghan security guard outside its embassy was among those who died.

A man is carried after a suicide attack in Kabul. Photo: AP
A man is carried after a suicide attack in Kabul. Photo: AP

The explosion took place at the peak of Kabul's rush hour, when roads are packed with commuters. 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.

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

The Foreign Ministry and the Presidential Palace are in the area, as are the British, Canadian, Chinese, Turkish and Iranian embassies.

The US embassy and the Nato mission are about half a mile from the site. Both condemned the attack and the alliance praised "the courage of Afghan Security Forces, especially the police and first responders".

Irish Independent

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