Afghanistan war

95 killed, 158 wounded by bomb blast in Afghan capital

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 27 January, 2018, 7:20pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 27 January, 2018, 9:53pm

A bomb hidden in an ambulance killed at least 95 people and wounded 158 in Afghanistan on Saturday when it blew up in an area of the capital near foreign embassies and government buildings.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the blast, a week after it claimed an attack on the a hotel in Kabul in which more than 20 people were killed.

“It is a massacre,” said Dejan Panic, coordinator in Afghanistan for the Italian aid group Emergency, which runs a nearby trauma hospital. In a message on Twitter, the group said more than 50 wounded had been taken to that hospital alone.

The blast tore through a crowded street in a busy part of the city at lunchtime.

Mirwais Yasini, a member of parliament who was nearby when the explosion occurred, said the ambulance approached the checkpoint, close to an office of the High Peace Council and several foreign embassies, and blew up.

Buildings hundreds of metres (yards) away were shaken by the force of the explosion, which left torn bodies strewn on the street nearby amid rubble and debris.

People helped the wounded away as ambulances with sirens wailing inched their way through the traffic-clogged streets of the city centre.

The latest attack will add pressure on President Ashraf Ghani and his US allies, who have expressed growing confidence that a new more aggressive military strategy has succeeded in driving Taliban insurgents back from major provincial centres.

The United States has increased its air strikes against the Taliban and other militant groups.

The Taliban have dismissed suggestions that they have been weakened by the strategy and the latest attacks have shown that their capacity to mount deadly, high-profile attacks has not been affected.