Kabul: At least 80 people were killed and 350 injured in a massive blast that rocked diplomatic quarters in Kabul on Wednesday. It was a few hundred metres away from Indian Embassy.
According to the interior ministry, a suicide bomber detonated an explosive-packed vehicle at Zanbaq Square around 8.30 am. It also stated that more than 50 vehicles were damaged in the incident.
The powerful explosion in Kabul came at the start of holy month of Ramadan.
Najib Danish, an Interior Ministry spokesman, said initial findings showed it had been a truck bomb.
Meanwhile, a French minister said that the French and German embassies were damaged by the massive explosion.
European Affairs Minister Marielle de Sarnez told Europe 1 radio that she had no information on any possible casualties at the two missions.
Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi strongly condemned the terror attack and said India stands with Afghanistan in combating “all types of terrorism”.
“India stands with Afghanistan in fighting all types of terrorism. Forces supporting terrorism need to be defeated,” Modi tweeted.
All Indian embassy staff in Kabul is safe, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said earlier today.
“By God’s grace, Indian Embassy staff are safe in the massive #Kabul blast,” Sushma tweeted.
The explosion also shattered windows at the Japanese Embassy. “Two Japanese embassy staffers were mildly injured, suffering cuts”, a Foreign Ministry official in Tokyo told AFP.
Bodies littered the scene and a towering plume of smoke rose from the area after the blast blew out the windows in a number of missions and residences hundreds of metres (yards) from the epicentre.
More than an hour after the explosion ambulances were still taking the wounded to hospital, as fire-fighters struggled to control blazes in several buildings.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the attack came as the resurgent Taliban are stepping up their annual “spring offensive”.
Pentagon chief Jim Mattis has warned of “another tough year” for both foreign troops and local forces in Afghanistan.