A secure diplomatic area of Kabul, Afghanistan, was rocked by a huge explosion during rush Wednesday morning, leaving at least 80 dead and 350 injured.
According to authorities, the blast was likely caused by a suicide car bombing and was so extensive that more than 30 vehicles were damaged or destroyed and windows were shattered in shops, restaurants and other buildings up to a half mile from the explosion site.
“We don’t know at this moment what was the target of the attack, but most of the casualties are civilians,” said Najib Danish, deputy spokesman for the Interior Ministry.
Germany’s Foreign Minister Signmar Gabriel said that a crisis team had been activated to deal with the incident in which staff members at the German Embassy in Kabul were wounded and an Afghan security guard was killed.
“There are a large number of casualties, but I don’t know, how many people are killed or wounded,” said Gul Rahim, a witness at the site.
The Taliban and ISIS have perpetrated massive attacks in Kabul in the past but no group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing.
The neighborhood where the explosion occurred is viewed as the safest area in Kabul with its government offices and foreign embassies surrounded by numerous 10-foot-high blast walls, the Afghan Foreign Ministry and the Presidential Palace, all guarded by police and national security forces.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani released a statement in which he condemned the bombing, pointing out that “the terrorists, even in the holy month of Ramadan, the month of goodness, blessing and prayer, are not stopping the killing of our innocent people.”
In April, the Afghan Taliban announced the start of their spring offensive, pledging to build their political base in the area while carrying out military attacks on the international coalition and Afghan security forces.
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