Kabul bomb blast: More than 80 dead, scores injured after explosion in Afghan capital

An Afghan man reacts at the site of a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017.

A massive bomb hidden in a sewage tanker has exploded in the morning rush hour in the centre of Afghanistan's capital, killing at least 80 people, wounding hundreds and damaging embassy buildings.

The explosion, one of the deadliest in Kabul and coming at the start of the holy month of Ramadan, shattered windows and blew doors off their hinges in houses hundreds of metres away.

Basir Mujahid, a spokesman for city police, said the explosives used in the unusually powerful bombing were hidden in a sewage tanker. 
The bombing happened close to the fortified entrance to the German embassy, killing a security guard and wounding some staff.
An injured man arrives to a hospital after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017.

But Mr Mujahid suggested the embassy might not have been the target of the blast, which sent clouds of black smoke into the sky near the presidential palace.

"There are several other important compounds and offices near there too," he told Reuters.

A statement from the NATO-led Resolute Support mission in Kabul said Afghan security forces had prevented the vehicle from entering the heavily protected Green Zone that houses many foreign embassies and its own headquarters, suggesting it may not have reached its intended target.

Video shot at the scene showed burning debris, crumbled walls and buildings and destroyed cars, many with dead or injured people inside. 
A public health official said at least 80 people had been killed and more than 350 wounded. The victims appear mainly to have been Afghan civilians.

BBC driver killed
An Afghan driver working for the BBC was killed in the attack, and four journalists who were riding with him at the time were injured. In a statement, the BBC said it was a devastating loss for the media organisation.

"Mohammed Nazir worked as a driver for the BBC Afghan Service for more than four years and was a popular colleague. He was in his late 30s and he leaves a young family." 
Germany's Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel wrote on Twitter that employees of the German embassy were injured in the blast, and an Afghan security guard had been killed.

"It hit civilians and those who are in Afghanistan to work for a better future for the country with the people there. It's especially contemptible that these people were the target," Mr Gabriel said.
Kabul bomb blast: More than 80 dead, scores injured after explosion in Afghan capital Kabul bomb blast: More than 80 dead, scores injured after explosion in Afghan capital Reviewed by Nene Sochi-Okereke on Wednesday, 31 May 2017 Rating: 5

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