KABUL:(APS)May 31, 2017-At least 80 people were killed in a massive blast which ripped through the diplomatic quarter of the Afghan capital Kabul early Wednesday, the health ministry said, warning the toll would rise further.
“Unfortunately the toll has reached 80 martyred (killed) and over 300 wounded, including many women and children,” said ministry spokesman Waheed Majroh, adding the figures would continue to climb as more bodies are pulled from the debris.
The explosion occurred during the morning rush hour in a busy part of the Afghan capital that houses many foreign embassies and government departments.
Bodies littered the scene and a huge plume of smoke rose from the area. However, it was not immediately clear what the target was.
Witnesses described dozens of cars choking the roads as wounded survivors and panicked schoolgirls sought safety, with men and woman struggling to get through security checkpoints to search for loved ones.
It is unclear whether German embassy staff in Kabul were injured or hurt when the car bomb exploded in its vicinity, a security source said.
“It’s unclear at the moment whether German staff have been affected,” the source told Reuters.
The source had earlier said, based on information available at the time, it did not seem that German staff had been injured or killed in the explosion.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the attack came as the resurgent Taliban are stepping up their annual “spring offensive”.
The militant Islamic State (IS) group has also claimed responsibility for several recent bombings in the Afghan capital, including a powerful blast targeting an armoured Nato convoy that killed at least eight people and wounded 28 on May 3.