At least 80 people were killed and over 400 wounded in a massive explosion that occurred in the diplomatic enclave of Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on Wednesday morning. According to local media, the blast occurred close to the Afghan presidential palace, German and Indian embassies. However, no one from these embassies was killed in the attack, reports emerging from Kabul suggest.
According to Tolo News, the neighborhood is considered Kabul's safest area, with foreign embassies protected by dozens of 10-foot-high blast walls and government offices, guarded by police and national security forces. Al Jazeera, quoting Afghan government officials, reported that it was a suicide car bomb attack, described as "one of the biggest" to have hit the Afghan capital in the last decade.
The blast occurred at 8:22 am Kabul time, when the roads were packed with commuters; rocked buildings and shattered windows for a mile, ANI has reported.
A sewage truck loaded with 1,500 kg of explosives was used in the attack. The truck was stopped by security personnel at a checkpoint near the diplomatic district of Kabul, Tolo News said in its report, adding that the driver detonated the explosives in front of the German embassy when questioned.
Although no terror outfit has claimed responsibility for the blast, Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security has said that the attack was planned by the Haqqani network with help from Pakistan's intelligence agency, ISI.
The Taliban has denied responsibility, saying it had "nothing to do" with the explosion. "We will continue our attacks in Ramadan against the US-led foreign forces and their puppet Afghan government, but that doesn't mean we will carry out attacks in places where civilians are killed," Taliban has said in a statement released soon after the attack. Both the Taliban and the Islamic State have staged large-scale attacks in the Afghan capital in the past.
Soon after the attack, the Afghanistan Cricket Board cancelled all friendly matches including initially agreed terms of the mutual cricketing relationship with the Pakistan Cricket Board.
The explosion raises serious questions about the ability of the Afghan government and security forces to secure the war-battered nation. The attack comes at a time when the Trump administration is in the process of reviewing its policy in Afghanistan and is likely to deploy additional troops to Afghanistan to secure the gains made (vis a vis Taliban) in the last decade.
With inputs from ANI
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