A massive explosion in one of Kabul’s most secure neighborhoods has killed at least 90 and injured more than 400, according to the Associated Press. The death toll is expected to rise.
The blast came in the midst of Kabul’s busy morning rush hour and at the heart of one of the nation’s most important commercial and government districts, near the presidential palace and full of foreign embassies, government offices, a television station, supermarkets and banks. The German embassy was heavily damaged and The Washington Post reports that workers in the Japanese embassy were injured, but the exact target is unknown. According to media accounts, windows were shattered and the ground shook as far as a mile away.
Kabul Police Chief Hassan Shah Frogh says the bomb was hidden in a liquid tanker truck and dug a 13 foot crater into the earth.
The Taliban have denied carrying out the attack.
Among those killed in the blast were nine Afghan guards at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, according to the AP; 11 American contractors are wounded.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani called the attack “a crime against humanity” while Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr., commander of the American and NATO forces in Afghanistan released a statement, saying in part: “Attacks such as these only serve to strengthen our commitment to our Afghan partners as they seek a peaceful, stable future for their country.”
America’s top diplomat to Kabul, Special Chargé d’Affaires Hugo Llorens said Wednesday’s “horrific and shameful attack demonstrates these terrorists’ complete disregard for human life and their nihilistic opposition to the dream of a peaceful future for Afghanistan.”
The attack comes about a month after the Taliban launched its spring offensive and as ISIS has made gains since first establishing itself in the country in 2015.