Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Tragedy again as Kabul explosion leaves hundreds killed and injured near Afghan embassies

Security forces try to move civilians away from the blast zone

Dozens of people have been killed and injured after a huge blast rocked Kabul near the presidential palace and foreign embassies.
Police said the powerful car bomb exploded in an area close to the German embassy during the city's morning rush hour when the roads are packed with commuters.

Afghan officials said at least 49 people were dead and 300 wounded, but the number of casualties was expected to rise.
The force of the blast was so great that more than 30 vehicles were either destroyed or damaged at the site of the attack.
Buildings hundreds of metres away from the explosion were damaged with windows and doors blown off their hinges.
Kabul police spokesman Basir Mujahid said: "It was a car bomb near the German embassy, but there are several other important compounds and offices near there too. It is hard to say what the exact target is."
A German security source said it was unclear whether German staff at their embassy had been killed or injured.
France said its embassy had been damaged, but there was no suggestion of French victims.
The British, Canadian, Chinese, Turkish and Iranian embassies and Afghanistan's foreign ministry are also in the area of the blast.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast.
A spokesman for Taliban insurgents said he was gathering information.
Afghanistan has seen a rise in violent attacks this year, as the Taliban push to overthrow the US-backed government and reimpose Islamic law 16 years after they were removed from power following the 9/11 attacks.
However, president Ashref Ghani's government still holds all the main provincial centres.
Donald Trump is due to decide soon on a recommendation to send 3,000 to 5,000 more troops to bolster the NATO training force and US counter-terrorism mission, which total just over 10,000.
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.

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