Kabul bomb death toll climbs to at least 80: health ministry

Cheryl Sanders
May 31, 2017

A massive blast Wednesday tore through the diplomatic quarter of the Afghan capital of Kabul killing at least 80 people, according to officials, underlining the fragility of the country as it buckles under a wave of rebel attacks.

Wednesday's blast was the latest in a string of attacks in Kabul. "Our thoughts are with the families of the deceased and prayers with the injured".

Manpreet Vohra, India's envoy to Afghanistan, told the Times Now television channel the bomb went off around 100 metres from India's embassy, one of several in the area.

The NATO statement praised "the courage of Afghan Security Forces, especially the police and first responders".

A Taliban suicide bomber rams his vehicle into a minibus belonging to television channel Tolo, killing seven of its employees, in the first major attack on the Afghan media. Some Pakistani Embassy diplomats and staff suffered minor injuries, the Pakistani Prime Minister's office said.

Another lightly wounded victim, Nabib Ahmad, 27, said there was widespread destruction and confusion.

Images from the scene showed the German embassy and several others heavily damaged.

"Turkey will continue to stand with the friendly and brotherly people and the government of Afghanistan in the fight against terrorism", the ministry said.

German embassy officials were among those wounded in the blast, CNN reported.

The BBC said among the dead were an Afghan driver employed by the broadcaster while four of its journalists were injured.

"Mohammed Nazir worked as a driver for the BBC Afghan service for more than four years and was a popular colleague".

Germany's Sigmar Gabriel called the attack "contemptible".

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said New Zealand's embassy in Tehran was in contact with authorities in Kabul.

Pakistan condemned the "terrorist attack in Kabul this morning that has caused loss of precious human lives and injuries to many".

Gunmen dressed as medics attacked the 400-bed Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan hospital and battled security forces for hours, killing more than 50 people and wounding dozens in an assault claimed by Islamic State.

The ministry said a suicide bomber had detonated an explosives-packed vehicle in Zanbaq Square around 8.30am. "There was a clear failure to anticipate a major security threat in a highly secured area", said Michael Kugelman of the USA -based Wilson Center.

According to CNN, the Taliban in a statement denied responsibility for the attack, despite the fact they have been gaining territory in the area.

Separately, the US Embassy said it did "not appear to have been the target of the blast", a spokesperson said. He says the target of the attack was not immediately known but that most of the casualties were civilians, including women and children.

"Two Japanese embassy staffers were mildly injured, suffering cuts", a foreign ministry official in Tokyo told AFP.

The blast, which was heard in a large part of Kabul, took place close to the German Embassy, whose Afghan security officer was killed. "Many more people were wounded".

Other reports by iNewsToday