85 killed, over 350 injured in Kabul attack

KABUL: At least 85 people were killed and 350 others wounded in a massive suicide bombing in the heart of Kabul, the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) said Wednesday.
The Ministry of Interior spokesman Najib Danish confirmed the incident has taken place close to the Zanbaq square in the 10th police district of the city.
The explosion happened at around 8:30am. Public Health Minister Dr. Ferozuddin Feroz, inquiring after the injured said 350 injured and 85 dead people had been evacuated to Wazir Mohammad Akbar Khan, Jamhooriat and Emergency Hospitals.
More casualties were being taken to other health facilities in the capital city, the minister said, suggesting the death toll could go up.
Mohammad Idris Sarwari, in charge of security at the German embassy, confirmed the killing of two Afghan guards of the embassy and injuries to as many others. Two more have been missing.
Nine security guards at a base of foreign forces in the area were among the fatalities. Kabul police chief Shah Hussain Farogh said the explosives had been placed in a water tanker.
Mirwais Yasini, a lawmaker from eastern Nangarhar province who was present at the site, said the explosion was so powerful that it caused a 15 metre deep crater and shattered windowpanes in many buildings.
He alleged the national unity government had failed to ensure public security. He called for President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Abdullah to resign forthwith.
The Emergency Hospital confirmed receiving around 160 injured people. Safiullah, an employee of the German embassy who suffered a hand injury, said women and children were among the casualties.
Najib Danish, acting spokesman for the Ministry of Interior (MoI), wrote on his social media account it was a suicide car bombing. He said 30 vehicles were completely destroyed; there was infrastructure loss at the foreign forces' camp and office of the Roshan Telecommunication Company.
An eyewitness said the explosion took place between the 17th road of Wazir Akbar Khan, a diplomatic enclave, and Zanbaq Square. German embassy and the foreign military camp are situated in the area.
Another sources said the explosion happened in front of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) compound. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. 
The Kabul police commandment said the incident took place close to Qala-e-Najara area with the suspects detonating their explosives as they were being chased by the police forces. Taliban outfit has rejected its involvement in the deadly attack.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid in a statement said the group has no role in the attack and the Taliban fighters were also not involved in it as they are not allowed to carry out attacks in areas where there are no targets. Mujahid also added that the group strongly condemns the attack.
However, some officials pointing finger at the Islamic State (IS) group, but the outfit has yet to claim responsibility. Meanwhile, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa Wednesday strongly condemns blast in Kabul. 
Expresses grief on loss of precious lives and damage to various Embassies' infrastructure including Pakistan, the Army Chief said: "We stand with Afghan brothers and its security forces in fight against terrorism and militancy." Meanwhile, the world community including United States, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, United Arab Emirates, India, Iran and China have strongly condemned the Kabul attack.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani that the deadly truck bombing that ripped through Kabul during rush hour traffic was carried out by people who do not know the values of Islam.
The presidential palace said in statement Wednesday said President Ashraf Ghani has condemned the attack and called on all hospitals and health institutions to make sure the wounded got the best treatment possible. He passed on his condolences to the families of all those killed in the attack.
The Afghan ministry of foreign affairs also slammed the attack and said that by creating such carnage, the perpetrators will not reach their "ugly goals".
Former President Hamid Karzai also condemned the attack and said this act was carried out by enemies of peace and stability in Afghanistan and this act is against all Islamic values and humanity.
The U.S ambassador Hugo Llorens said in a statement: "The terrorists, and those who provide them support in any form, deserve the utter scorn of all civilized people around the world."
He went on to say the US's commitment to Afghanistan is unwavering; "we stand with the Afghan people and the government of national unity as they strive to build a brighter, safer tomorrow for the people of this great nation." The U.S ambassador Hugo Llorens said: "The terrorists, and those who provide them support in any form, deserve the utter scorn of all civilized people around the world."
He went on to say the U.S's commitment to Afghanistan is unwavering; "we stand with the Afghan people and the government of national unity as they strive to build a brighter, safer tomorrow for the people of this great nation."
Pakistan said Wednesday's blast also affected the residences of some Pakistani diplomats and staff and inflicted minor injuries to some of them.
"Pakistan being a victim of terrorism understands the pain and agony that such incidents inflict upon the people and society. The people and Government of Pakistan extend their heartfelt sympathies and deepest condolences to the Government and the people of Afghanistan and the bereaved families.
"While reiterating condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, we pray for early recovery of the injured. We firmly stand with our Afghan brothers in this hour of grief and anguish," read their statement.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday condemned the car bomb blast in the diplomatic district in Afghan capital Kabul.-NNI