A massive suicide truck bombing killed 90 people and wounded hundreds early Wednesday morning in Kabul, Afghanistan.
“The bomb exploded in the diplomatic quarter near the German Embassy and the Afghan presidential palace. The streets were packed with commuters, women shopping and children going to school, and the blast appears likely to result in a high civilian death toll,” writes CNN.
The bombing occurred just a few days before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, at the height of Kabul’s rush hour and most of the casualties were civilians.
The German Embassy and several others located in the diplomatic quarter were heavily damaged. Several members of the staff employed at the German outpost were among the victims of the attack.
This is considered one of the safest in Kabul, where the foreign embassies are protected by high walls and armored guards.
“The bomb, concealed in a water delivery truck, detonated at 8:22 a.m. outside the offices of a major local cellphone company and a popular TV station. It hit about 400 yards from the German Embassy in one of the busiest parts of town, near big supermarkets and shops,” writes CNN. “The Taliban denied responsibility for the attack. No group has yet claimed it.”
Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, condemned all attacks on citizens and said the attack had “nothing to do with the Mujahedeen of Islamic Emirate.”
However, the National Directorate of Security at Afghanistan’s intelligence service said the attacked was carried out by the Haqqani Network, a Taliban-affiliated group in Pakistan.
So far, 90 have been confirmed dead and 400+ have injuries. 11 U.S. citizens who work at the U.S. embassy and nine Afghan security officials were among the casualties. One BBC driver was killed and four BBC journalists were injured in the blast. The publication said they will likely survive the injuries.
Fortunately, a checkpoint prevented the truck from getting even closer to the embassies.
“Our prayers are with the victims and their families of this inhuman and cowardly attack,” tweeted the office of President Ashraf Ghani. “May Allah strengthen all those working for peace. Our thoughts are with the families of deceased & prayers with the injured.”
The group responsible picked the area for a reason.
“The attack was aimed at civilians and those who are in Afghanistan to work with the people there for a better future of the country,” said Sigmar Gabriel, the German Foreign Minister. Although some of the German embassy officials were injured, he said “all employees are safe.”
An Afghan security officer outside of the embassy, who was assigned to protect the area was also killed.
“Today’s attack is a very dramatic example of what terrorists can do when they are determined to cause death and suffering among innocent civilians,” said Capt. Bill Salvin, a U.S. military spokesman in Kabul. “But the security situation is being stabilized by the ever-growing capability of the Afghan police force and the Afghan National Army.”
Although the attack was clearly meant to be on foreign embassies, mostly innocent Afghan citizens ended up being the victims.
“Afghans. It’s always Afghans,” said Layma Tabibi, an Afghani-American, who heard the blast to CNN. “It’s always Afghans that are harmed and get killed, rather than who the attacker wants to target.”
Following the attack, hundreds lined up to give blood.
“The people are full of hope and love. It may not always seem like that but already there are hundreds of names and people waiting in lines and waiting to be put on a waiting list to donate blood and help anyone who is in need or stranded without help,” said Tabibi.
This devastating attack proves that Afghanistan is still very much so in a state of chaos.
“U.S. and Afghan forces have been battling the Taliban insurgency for more than 15 years. The United States now has more than 8,000 troops in Afghanistan, training local forces and conducting counterterrorism operations. In the past year, they have largely concentrated on thwarting a surge of attacks by the Taliban, who have captured key districts, such as Helmand province, which U.S. and British troops had fought bitterly to return to the government,” writes Newsmax. “Yet the Afghan war shows no signs of letting up and the emergence of the local Islamic State branch has made Afghanistan even more volatile.”