Dozens of Afghan civilians killed after massive explosion rips through the heart of the capital’s diplomatic district.
World leaders have offered sweeping condemnations of “one of the biggest” attacks to hit Afghanistan‘s capital, Kabul.
The suicide bomb blast early on Wednesday killed at least 80 people and wounded hundreds near Zanbaq Square in Kabul’s 10th district, close to shops and restaurants as well as government offices and foreign embassies.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, told Al Jazeera that the group was not involved in the attack.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani strongly condemned the attack, which came just days into the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
A statement from his office quoted Ghani as saying that “the terrorists, even in the holy month of Ramadan, the month of goodness, blessing and prayer, are not stopping the killing of our innocent people”.
Several foreign embassies were in the vicinity of the attack, which occurred in an area filled with diplomats.
Residences and offices of Pakistani, Indian, French, and German diplomats, among those of other countries, were damaged.
Pakistan condemned the “terrorist attack in Kabul this morning that has caused loss of precious human lives and injuries to many”.
The victims appear mainly to have been Afghan civilians, but German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said that employees of the German Embassy were wounded in the attack and that one Afghan security guard was killed.
AM @sigmargabriel: Bestürzende Nachrichten aus #Kabul. Verurteile Anschlag auf das Schärfste. Unsere Gedanken sind bei Angehörigen der Opfer pic.twitter.com/Xm7SLLnY25
— Auswärtiges Amt (@AuswaertigesAmt) May 31, 2017
“Our thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims. We wish those injured a quick recovery,” the foreign minister said. “It’s particularly despicable that these people were targeted.”
He also vowed that the attack would not shake Germany’s determination to “support the Afghan regime with the stabilisation of their country”.
Foreign minister of Qatar, Mohammed bin Jassim Al-Thani, condemned the “appalling attack”.
Strongly condemn the appalling attack in #Kabul that killed many innocent. #Qatar rejects all forms of violence and terrorism.
— محمد بن عبدالرحمن (@MBA_AlThani_) May 31, 2017
Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India tweeted “thoughts & prayers” to those affected by the attack.
We strongly condemn the terrorist blast in Kabul. Our thoughts are with the families of the deceased & prayers with the injured.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 31, 2017