Kabul’s streets were once again smeared with blood on Wednesday morning, as a powerful bomb exploded in the center of the Afghan capital, killing at least 80 people and wounding more than 300 in a devastating attack near the Presidential palace and foreign embassy buildings. The death toll looked set to climb as local hospitals were overrun with casualties from the attack.
The epicenter of the blast was a busy section of Kabul near the Arg, the 19th century fortress that houses the President’s home and residence, and close to the German embassy. It was timed to coincide with the morning rush hour, when Kabul’s roads are packed with cars and traffic in many parts is slow moving. “The blast was so huge that it dug a big crater as deep as four meters,” General Hassan Shah Frogh, Kabul’s police chief, told the New York Times.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing, which came as Muslims around the world mark the holy month of Ramadan. The Taliban, which has grown increasingly more powerful following the departure of most foreign troops from Afghanistan in 2014, denied that it was behind the attack, according to the Reuters news agency. Earlier in May, eight civilians died when an ISIS suicide bomber struck a NATO convoy that was making its way through Kabul.
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