At least 80 people have been killed and over 300 injured after a huge explosion rocked the diplomatic area of Kabul, officials have said, according to news agency Reuters. The blast took place outside the German Embassy and very close to the Indian Embassy. All Indian Embassy staff are safe. Windows and doors of the Indian Embassy’s building were partly damaged following the explosion.
Afghan Police officials said that the blast was a car explosion and several people were feared killed or injured. This could not be immediately confirmed by any Afghanistan official. A huge plume of smoke could be seen rising from the area. Eye-witness images showed cars heavily damaged and several injured people being rescued by emergency services.
“By God’s grace, Indian Embassy staff are safe in the massive #Kabul blast,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted this morning. “Massive VBIED (Vehicle-borne improvised explosive device) not too far from our Embassy,” Indian ambassador in Kabul Manpreet Vohra said.
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AFP Graphic on Kabul blast in diplomatic quarter as death toll leaps to 49 dead, more than 300 wounded pic.twitter.com/uraVioAvfI
— AFP news agency (@AFP) May 31, 2017
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the attack and reiterated that the Government of India stands with Afghanistan in its fight against terror. “We strongly condemn the terrorist blast in Kabul. Our thoughts are with the families of the deceased & prayers with the injured. India stands with Afghanistan in fighting all types of terrorism. Forces supporting terrorism need to be defeated.”
The Indian embassy is located in the Wazir Akbar Khan diplomatic area of Kabul that also houses several ministries and is close to the presidential palace. Jessica Donati, who covers Afghanistan for WSJ, confirmed the blast earlier this morning, tweeting: “Massive explosion just shattered all the windows and glass in our bureau.”
Today’s attack in Afghanistan comes a few days after a suicide car bomber killed at least 18 people in Khost, eastern Afghanistan. The blast took place on Saturday. “A suicide car bomb in Khost province has killed 18 people and wounded six others, including two children,” ministry spokesman Najib Danish had said on Twitter.
— Sara A. Carter (@SaraCarterDC) May 31, 2017
Explosion in Kabul, reportedly near Wazir Akbar Khan area, Kabul PD 10: Afghan Media pic.twitter.com/5joCXNwkqV
— ANI (@ANI_news) May 31, 2017