Truck bomb kills at least 80 in Afghan capital city center
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
In what Afghan president Ashraf Ghani called "a crime against humanity," earlier this morning, local time, a septic tanker truck filled with explosives detonated not far from the German embassy in Kabul's Wazir Akbar Khan area, during the city's morning commute. According to the country's health ministry, at least 83 bodies have been found and over 450 have been wounded. The ministry's spokesperson, Ismail Kawasi, said most of the victims were civilians, including children.
|It was a car bomb near the German embassy, but there are several other important compounds and offices near there too. It is hard to say what the exact target is|
—Police Spokesperson Basir Mujahid
"The attack demonstrates a complete disregard for civilians and reveals the barbaric nature of the enemy faced by the Afghan people," Ghani said in an official statement. "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," he said. General John W. Nicholson Jr., commander of American and North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces in Afghanistan congratulated city security forces for preventing the truck from coming any closer to important government buildings and embassies.
This attack was unusual, though not unheard of, because of the sheer volume of the bomb involved. According to Kabul's police chief, General Hassan Shah Frogh, "The blast was so huge that it dug a big crater as deep as four meters" (13 feet) and it damaged buildings as far as one mile (1.2 km) away.
Though an initial report by Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish claimed the site of the detonation as near one of the gates to the Afghan Presidential Palace, it was actually closer to the German embassy, which sustained considerable damage, according to NBC. Germany currently has more than 950 soldiers in Afghanistan as part of NATO's Resolute Support Mission and helped the Afghan security personnel in their training. "It was a car bomb near the German embassy, but there are several other important compounds and offices near there too. It is hard to say what the exact target is," said police spokesperson Basir Mujahid.
The Taliban has denied any association with this attack. Western countries have been fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan for about 15 years, including the U.S., Germany, and Britain, but many of these countries withdrew much of their forces before 2015. Since then, the Taliban has come to control about 40% of Afghanistan, per U.S. estimates.
- Mujid Mashal and Fahim Abed. "Kabul Bombing Kills at Least 80, Shaking City Center" — New York Times, May 31, 2017
- Associated Press. "80 killed as suicide bomb hits Kabul's 'safest area'" — Irish Independent, May 31, 2017
- Ahmed Mengli and Jason Cumming, F. Brinley Bruton, Andy Eckardt, and Mushtaq Yusufzai from the Associated Press. "Kabul Bomb: Explosion Near German Embassy Kills Dozens" — NBC, May 31, 2017
- Sune Engel Rasmussen. "Kabul: at least 80 killed by massive car bomb in diplomatic quarter" — The Guardian, May 31, 2017