Suicide Bomb Kills At Least 80 and Wounds More Than 350 in Afghanistan

An Afghan security force member stands at the site of a car bomb attack in Kabul.

Kabul, 5 Ramadan 1438/31 May 2017 (MINA) – The death toll in a huge explosion that rocked Kabul’s city centre has risen to 80 and another 350 people have been injured, independent.co.uk reported, citing Afghanistan’s Public Heath Ministry.

The damage is believed to have been caused by a powerful suicide car bomb deployed during rush hour on Wednesday morning, police spokesperson Basir Mujahid confirmed.

The massive blast near the German and French embassies in Zanbaq Square sent thick plumes of smoke into the sky and managed to shatter windows and blow doors off their hinges hundreds of metres away. Makeshift ambulances struggled to deal with the number of casualties as the scale of the damage became clear.

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People are still arriving at local hospitals and the death toll is expected to rise, the Interior Ministry said, putting out an urgent appeal for blood donors. Most of the dead are thought to be civilians.

 

No immediate claim of responsibility

There has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack – the deadliest in Kabul since two Isis suicide bombers blew themselves up during a Shia protest march last July, killing 80 people and wounding a further 230.

Last month, a Taliban offensive on an army training compound near the northern city of Mazar-e-Sherif killed 135 soldiers.

It is not clear what the attacker’s intended target was, although there have been incidents claimed by both groups in the heavily fortified diplomatic district over the last year.

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Afghanistan as a whole has seen of a wave increasing violence in the past year as both Taliban and Isis militants struggle to overthrow the US-backed government and impose Islamic law.

In recent years jihadist groups have increasingly called for attacks on civilians during the holy month of Ramadan, which began on Saturday. A suicide bomber killed 26 people breaking their fast and enjoying ice cream at a shop in Baghdad on Tuesday.

Although the Taliban lost control of the country following the US invasion of 2001, since most international troops withdrew in 2014 the organisation has steadily gained ground. It is currently in control of around 40 per cent of Afghanistan, although it holds no cities.

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It announced a spring offensive last month which would target foreign forces in the country.

There are currently around 13,000 US and NATO ally troops deployed to Afghanistan, although the Pentagon has urged US President Donald Trump to send more soldiers to combat the deteriorating security situation. (T/RS5/RS1)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)