At least 30 killed and hundreds wounded in first major Kabul attack since the Taliban announced “spring offensive”.
At least 30 people were killed and over 300 others wounded as a massive explosion rocked Kabul, Afghanistan on Tuesday morning, authorities said.
A suicide car bomber caused the explosion, said Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqi. The attack — near the Defense Ministry in the capital’s central first district — targeted an office that houses a National Directorate of Security unit responsible for protecting government officials.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack which targeted the headquarters of a security agency in central Kabul, near the ministry of defence and embassies.
Kabul police chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi said most of the 28 people confirmed dead were civilians.
Several witness said they continued to hear gunfire after the explosion. Ambulances carried the injured to several hospitals around Kabul, said the Afghan Health Ministry.
A police commander, Obaidullah Tarakhail, said the blast was “one of the most powerful explosions I have ever heard in my life.”
He added that he couldn’t see or hear anything for 20 minutes after the initial explosion. “All around was dark and covered with thick smoke and dust,” he said.
“President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani condemned the terrorist attack in Pule Mahmood Khan area, Kabul, which martyred and injured a number of Afghan innocent civilians in strongest terms,” a statement released by the president’s office said.
Ghani tweeted the following from his office’s official account: “Today’s terrorist attack near Pul-e-Mahmud Khan, #Kabul clearly shows the enemy’s defeat in face-to-face battle with (Afghan National Defence and Security Forces).”
Today’s terrorist attack near Pul-e-Mahmud Khan, #Kabul clearly shows the enemy’s defeat in face-to-face battle with ANSDF.
— ارگ (@ARG_AFG) April 19, 2016
Afghan Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. Taliban spokesperson, Zabihullah Mujahid, said a group of heavily armed suicide bombers launched the attack against the Afghan intelligence agency’s office, calling it “one of the brutal and inhuman organs” of the Kabul government. He further said that the attack was part of the Taliban’s Spring Offensive named after the group’s founder Mullah Mohammad Omar.
Courtesy: AP, AFP, Reuters, AJ and dpa