© 2018 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Bomb Attack Kills 80, Injures Over 800 In Kabul Afghanistan
A huge suicide bomb ripped through a secure area of Kabul at the height of Wednesday morning rush hour, killing at least 80 people and wounding more than 300, Afghan officials said.
The blast, which came a few days into the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, was one of the deadliest to hit the Afghan capital in recent years.
The bomb exploded in the diplomatic quarter near the German Embassy and the Afghan presidential palace.
The bomb, concealed in a water delivery truck, detonated at 8:22 a.m. local time outside the offices of a major local cellphone company and a popular TV station.
It hit about 400 yards from the German Embassy in one of the busiest parts of town, near big supermarkets and shops.
The Taliban denied responsibility for the attack in a statement. No group has yet claimed it.
The BBC has confirmed that its Afghan driver Mohammed Nazir, who had worked with the media firm for four years and had a young family, died in the blast.
Four BBC journalists were also injured, but their injuries are not thought to be life threatening, according to a BBC World Service statement.
The French embassy was damaged in the explosion, Marielle de Sarnez, French minister for European Affairs, told Europe 1 radio.
Initial reports do not indicate that French nationals are among the dead, she said, adding that she is “extremely cautious” until that has been confirmed.
Separately, the US Embassy said it did “not appear to have been the target of the blast,” a spokesperson said.
Operation Resolute Support, the NATO-led international mission to support Afghan forces, said the “vigilance and courage” of Afghan security forces had prevented the vehicle entering the green zone, but ordinary people had paid the price.
“The attack demonstrates a complete disregard for civilians and reveals the barbaric nature of the enemy faced by the Afghan people,” it said.
Facebook activated its Safety Check feature in Kabul following the attack.
The latest attack highlights the deteriorating security situation across Afghanistan.
Earlier this month, another attack targeted foreign troops near the US Embassy in Kabul, killing eight people. ISIS claimed responsibility for that attack.
US military officials told the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this month that the Pentagon is considering sending additional troops to Afghanistan.
The troops could consist of Special Forces personnel and more conventional soldiers, and would be part of the NATO-led mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan army in its fight against militants.
There are about 8,400 US troops in Afghanistan – the majority are involved in training and advising Afghan troops.
About 2,000 US service members participate in a counter terrorism mission that targets terror groups such as al Qaeda and ISIS.
US troops have been in Afghanistan for nearly 16 years, where the government and coalition allies are battling several terror groups, including the Taliban and ISIS.