A suicide car bomb attack in the heart of Kabul’s diplomatic district has killed at least 12 people and wounded 92, according to officials, in a powerful blast described as “one of the biggest” to have hit the Afghan capital.
Sources said the explosion on Wednesday took place near Zanbaq square, in Kabul’s 10th district, a highly secure area close to many government offices and foreign embassies.
A police and a hospital source confirmed to Al Jazeera that at least nine people were killed in the attack. Waheed Majroh, a spokesman for the Afghan health ministry, told Al Jazeera that dozens of people were taken to hospital after the blast.
The death toll was expected to rise. Local media reported that at least 50 people were killed in the attack, citing anonymous sources.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Both the Taliban and ISIL have previously staged large-scale attacks in Kabul.
Al Jazeera’s Qais Azimy, reporting from Kabul, said the location of the attack was very significant, as it hit one of the Afghan capital’s busiest and most secure parts.
“Kabul has been very quiet for the past week but police has confirmed to us that this was one of the biggest blasts Kabul has ever seen,” he said.
Sushma Swaraj, India’s minister of external affairs, tweeted that all of the staff at the Indian embassy “were safe in the massive Kabul blast”.
Ambulances rushed to the scene of the blast, while a huge plume of smoke could be seen rising from the area.
Houses and shops hundreds of metres away from the blast site were damaged, with windows and doors blown off their hinges.
“The explosion was so loud that it shattered all my windows, did not hear something this big before,” Fatima Faizi, a Kabul resident, told Al Jazeera.[Source: Al Jazeera]