A terror attack in Kabul has killed at least 90 people and injured more than 400 after a sewerage truck loaded with explosives went off near the US, German, British and French embassies. Bodies littered the streets and a large plume of smoke can be seen towering over the city. Large numbers of wounded can be seen all bloodied and bruised from the explosion.
Officials said most of the casualties this morning were civilians and ‘many women and children’ were among the victims. The powerful blast left a gaping crater at least 15ft deep.
This morning, it emerged that BBC Afghan driver Mohammed Nazir had been killed in the explosion and that four BBC journalists have been wounded. Their injuries are not thought to be life threatening.
A number of employees at the German consulate have also been hurt and an Afghan security guard stationed outside the building was killed in the suicide bomb, which was also close to the British, French and US embassies.
The Afghan Taliban this morning denied responsibility for the attack, which comes just days into the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. No group immediately claimed to have carried out the atrocity, but both the Taliban and ISIS have staged large-scale attacks in Kabul in the past.
Amid the chaos and confusion in the aftermath of the blast this morning, officials initially said 50 had been killed. Reuters later reported the country’s health ministry as saying the death toll was at least 90.
The blast, which shattered windows and blew doors off their hinges in houses hundreds of yards away, was unusually strong, with some reports saying it was caused by explosives concealed in a water tanker.
A statement from the NATO-led Resolute Support (RS) mission in Kabul said Afghan security forces had prevented the vehicle from entering the heavily protected Green Zone that houses many foreign embassies as well as RS headquarters, suggesting it may not have reached its intended target.
The explosion caused carnage during rush hour when roads are packed with worktime commuters.
The neighbourhood is considered Kabul’s safest area, with foreign embassies protected by dozens of 10-foot-high blast walls and government offices, guarded by police and national security forces.
The German Embassy, the Foreign Ministry and the Presidential Palace are all in the area, as are the British and the Canadian embassies. The Chinese, Turkish and Iranian embassies are also located there.
Britain’s Foreign Office told MailOnline this morning: ‘We strongly condemn this morning’s attack which happened in the centre of Kabul during Ramadan. Our thoughts are with all the victims.
‘All our staff are accounted for and the embassy remains operational. We are working closely with the Afghan authorities and the area has been secured by security forces.’