Scores Dead, Hundreds Injured In Kabul Car Bombing

Najib Danish, a spokesman for Afghanistan's interior ministry, told USA TODAY that investigators were examining surveillance footage from the area.

He said the bomb had detonated "in the immediate vicinity" of the German embassy. "But the security situation is being stabilized by the ever-growing capability of the Afghan police force and the Afghan National Army". It was timed to coincide with the morning rush hour, when Kabul's roads are packed with cars and traffic in many parts is slow moving.

The NATO-led Resolute Support (RS) mission in Kabul said Afghan security forces prevented the vehicle carrying the bomb from entering the heavily protected Green Zone that houses many foreign embassies as well as its headquarters, also suggesting it may not have reached its intended target. The neighborhood is home to several embassies and not far from the Presidential Palace and foreign ministry. The Chinese, Turkish and Iranian embassies are also located there.

The US embassy and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation mission are about half a mile from the site. Both condemned the attack and the alliance praised "the courage of Afghan Security Forces, especially the police and first responders". Passers-by stopped and helped the wounded into private cars, others congregated outside the nearby Italian-run Emergency Hospital.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility, Afghan broadcaster 1 TV reported. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Al Jazeera the group wasn't involved in the bombing. "These heinous acts go against the values of humanity as well values of peaceful Afghans", it added.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said he "strongly condemned the cowardly attack in the holy month of Ramadan targeting innocent civilians in their daily life". Gabriel offered his condolences to the guard's family.

"By God's grace, Indian Embassy staff are safe in the massive Kabul blast", India's foreign minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted.

The commander of US forces in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, told a congressional hearing this year that he needed several thousand more troops to help Afghan forces break a "stalemate" with the Taliban.

Operation Resolute Support, the NATO-led worldwide mission to support Afghan forces, is focused this year on building Afghan forces' offensive capability on the battlefield, Salvin added. "More than 50 vehicles were either destroyed or damaged", it said. "It's especially contemptible that these people were the target", Gabriel said.

- May 31: At least 80 people are killed and hundreds wounded when a massive truck bomb rips through Kabul's diplomatic quarter, shattering windows hundreds of metres away.

More than an hour after the explosion, ambulances were still taking the wounded to hospital and officials were pulling bodies from the rubble as firefighters struggled to control blazes in several buildings. "USA citizens in Kabul are advised to avoid traveling to that area", a statement by the embassy said.

  • Leroy Wright