Huge truck bomb blast kills 90 in Kabul

President Ghani condemns ‘cowardly’ attack, described as one of the biggest ever to hit Afghanistan.

KABUL ATTACK: WHAT WE KNOW

  • Blast kills at least 90, but sources say death toll could be higher
  • The massive explosion hit the diplomatic quarter, one of Kabul’s most secure areas
  • No immediate claim of responsibility – Taliban denies involvement

Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani has condemned the “cowardly” truck bomb attack that ripped through the heart of Kabul’s diplomatic district, killing at least 90 people and wounding hundreds.

The powerful explosion on Wednesday was described by officials as “one of the biggest” to have hit the Afghan capital.

The explosives were hidden in a tanker truck used to clean out septic systems, Najib Danish, deputy spokesman for the interior minister, said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, told Al Jazeera that the group was not involved in the attack.

The blast gouged a crater about five metres deep near Zanbaq Square in the Wazir Akbar Khan district, where government buildings and foreign embassies are protected by a battery of their own security personnel, as well as Afghan police and National Security Forces.

“In this powerful attack 90 people have been killed and 400 wounded, including many women and children,” said the government’s media centre, with health officials warning the toll could climb further.

READ MORE: Social media users react to ‘horrific’ Kabul bombing

The victims appear mainly to have been Afghan civilians. There are fears that the death toll could increase.

“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,” said Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani.

Al Jazeera’s Qais Azimy, reporting from Kabul, said the death toll could be as high as 100, with more than 500 wounded, according sources.

“This is one of the biggest attacks in Afghanistan that I have ever seen,” he said. “It’s a very sad and very bloody day for the people of Kabul.”

Aziz Navin, an IT engineer with the Afghan TOLOnews outlet, was one of the first victims to be named.

Afghan officials inspect the area outside the German embassy in Kabul after the blast [Mohammad Ismail/Reuters]

Mohammed Nazi, a driver with the BBC, was also killed, while four journalists from the broadcaster were being treated in hospital.

“[Nazir] was driving journalist colleagues to the office,” the BBC said in a statement posted to Twitter. “He was in his late thirties and leaves a young family.”

An Afghan security guard at the German embassy also died in the attack.

IN PICTURES: Scenes of carnage in Afghan capital

Video shot at the scene showed burning debris, crumbled walls and buildings and destroyed cars, many with dead or wounded people inside.

Al Jazeera’s Azimy said the incident raised many security questions in Kabul, noting that many were wondering how “a truck full of explosives could manage to get to that highly secure” part of the capital.

Houses and shops hundreds of metres away from the blast site were damaged, with windows shattered and doors blown off their hinges.

“The explosion was so loud that it shattered all my windows. I did not hear something this big before,” Fatima Faizi, a Kabul resident, told Al Jazeera.

Michael Kugelman of the US-based Wilson Center, told the Associated Press the deadly attack, signified an “intelligence failure” in Kabul.

“There was a clear failure to anticipate a major security threat in a highly secured area,” he said.

“The fact that these intelligence failures keep happening suggest that something isn’t working at the top, and major and urgent changes are needed in security policy,” he said.

ISIL has 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.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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This entry was posted in Afghanistan, International Terrorism and tagged , by Trần Đình Hoành. Bookmark the permalink.

About Trần Đình Hoành

I am an attorney in the Washington DC area, with a Doctor of Law in the US, attended the master program at the National School of Administration of Việt Nam, and graduated from Sài Gòn University Law School. I aso studied philosophy at the School of Letters in Sài Gòn. I have worked as an anti-trust attorney for Federal Trade Commission and a litigator for a fortune-100 telecom company in Washington DC. I have taught law courses for legal professionals in Việt Nam and still counsel VN government agencies on legal matters. I have founded and managed businesses for me and my family, both law and non-law. I have published many articles on national newspapers and radio stations in Việt Nam. In 1989 I was one of the founding members of US-VN Trade Council, working to re-establish US-VN relationship. Since the early 90's, I have established and managed VNFORUM and VNBIZ forum on VN-related matters; these forums are the subject of a PhD thesis by Dr. Caroline Valverde at UC-Berkeley and her book Transnationalizing Viet Nam. I translate poetry and my translation of "A Request at Đồng Lộc Cemetery" is now engraved on a stone memorial at Đồng Lộc National Shrine in VN. I study and teach the Bible and Buddhism. In 2009 I founded and still manage dotchuoinon.com on positive thinking and two other blogs on Buddhism. In 2015 a group of friends and I founded website CVD - Conversations on Vietnam Development (cvdvn.net). I study the art of leadership with many friends who are religious, business and government leaders from many countries. In October 2011 Phu Nu Publishing House in Hanoi published my book "Positive Thinking to Change Your Life", in Vietnamese (TƯ DUY TÍCH CỰC Thay Đổi Cuộc Sống). In December 2013 Phu Nu Publishing House published my book "10 Core Values for Success". I practice Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi for health, and play guitar as a hobby, usually accompanying my wife Trần Lê Túy Phượng, aka singer Linh Phượng.

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