Wednesday 23 January 2019

'The majority were civilians' - At least 95 killed and more than 150 injured after car bombing in Kabul

Thick, dark smoke seen rising from the site of the explosion near the old Interior Ministry building.

Injured men sit in an ambulance after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan January 27, 2018.REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail
Injured men sit in an ambulance after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan January 27, 2018.REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail

Rahim Faiez

At least 95 people have been killed and another 158 were injured after a suicide bombing in the Afghan capital Kabul.

The attacker used an ambulance to get through a security checkpoint in central Kabul, telling police he was taking a patient to a nearby hospital, said Nasrat Rahimi, deputy spokesperson for the interior ministry. Once the driver reached a second checkpoint, he detonated the explosives.

The Taliban have claimed the attack.

Mr Rahimi said: "The majority of the dead in the attack are civilians, but of course we have military casualties as well."

He added that four suspects have been arrested and are being questioned.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said the organisation was behind the bombing, which sent thick, black smoke into the sky from the site near the government's former interior ministry building. The European Union and Indian consulates are also nearby.

The powerful explosion was felt throughout the capital and covered the blast area in smoke and dust. At the scene, dozens of vehicles were damaged or destroyed. Several shops, including some selling antiques and photography equipment, were also destroyed.

The International Committee of the Red Cross condemned the attack in a tweet, saying: "The use of an ambulance in today's attack in #Kabul is harrowing. This could amount to perfidy under IHL. Unacceptable and unjustifiable."

It was the second successful Taliban attack in a week on high security targets in the city.

Last Saturday, six Taliban militants attacked the Intercontinental Hotel, leaving 22 people dead, including 14 foreigners. Some 150 guests fled the subsequent gun battle and fire by using bedsheets to climb down from the upper floors. The US state department said multiple American citizens were killed and injured in the attack.

Press Association

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