Vehicle bomb rips through diplomatic area of Kabul killing 64, injuring hundreds

A massive blast rocked Kabul's diplomatic quarters during the morning rush hour on Wednesday (May 31) the latest attack to hit the Afghan capital. It appeared to have gone off close to a busy intersection in the Wazir Akbar Khan district - a highly secure area of the capital that is home to many embassies, diplomatic missions, the Presidential Palace and the Foreign Ministry. Men and women struggled to get through security checkpoints to search for loved ones. The target of the bombing wasn't immediately clear.

Security forces inspect the site of a suicide attack where German Embassy is located in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, May 31, 2017. More than one third of the country is outside government control.

Video shot at the scene showed burning debris, crumbled walls and buildings and destroyed cars, many with dead or injured people inside.At the Wazir Akhbar Khan hospital a few blocks away, there were scenes of chaos as ambulances brought in wounded and frantic relatives scanned casualty lists and questioned hospital staff for news.

Health ministry spokesman Waheed Majroh said at least 49 people had been killed and 320 wounded, with the figures confirmed by a second health official and the government media office.

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

Danish said the blast was so heavy more than 30 vehicles were either destroyed or damaged.

The interior ministry was calling on Kabul residents to donate blood, saying hospitals were in "dire need".

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Afghanistan has been suffering from a surge of attacks from the Taliban movement since it declared a new spring offensive, including spectacular attacks on the once secure capital. Both the Taliban and Islamic State have staged large-scale attacks in Kabul.

At least 64 people were killed and over 300 others injured in the powerful vehicle bombing in the diplomatic district in Kabul.

India's Ambassador to Afghanistan Manpreet Vohra told ANI, "Massive VBIED (Vehicle-borne improvised explosive device) not too far from our Embassy".

'We are all safe, all our staff, all our personnel are safe.

However, some damage to the windows of the Indian Embassy building has been reported.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: "We strongly condemn the terrorist blast in Kabul".

The explosion also shattered windows at the Japanese embassy. She added she had no information on any possible casualties at the two missions.

China's foreign ministry said its embassy was partly damaged but that no staffers or Chinese citizens were injured.

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

US President Donald Trump is due to decide soon on a recommendation to send 3,000 to 5,000 more troops to bolster the small North Atlantic Treaty Organisation training force and US counter-terrorism mission now totalling just over 10,000.

United States troopsin Afghanistan number about 8,400 now, and there are another 5,000 from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

  • Leroy Wright