Kabul: The casualty toll from Saturday's ambulance bomb attack in the Afghan capital Kabul reached at least 95 dead and 158 wounded, a health ministry official said.
The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the blast, a week after it claimed an attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul in which more than 20 people were killed.
The bomb was hidden in an ambulance and went off at a police checkpoint in an area near foreign embassies and government buildings, officials said. Saturday is a working day in Afghanistan and the streets were busy at the time.
"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 brought in to that hospital alone.
The Ministry of External Affairs on Saturday condemned the terrorist attacks in Kabul and conveyed India's heartfelt condolences to next of kin of the victims.
India strongly condemns barbaric terrorist attacks in Kabul targeting innocent civilians. This follows the cowardly attack on children & civilians in Jalalabad on 24 Jan. There can be no justification for it. The perpetrators & their supporters should be brought to justice.: MEA— ANI (@ANI) January 27, 2018
India stands in solidarity with Govt & people of Afghanistan at this difficult time of mindless violence & terror imposed on them. We convey our heartfelt condolences to next of kins of victims of these terror attacks & pray for speedy recovery to those injured: MEA #KabulAttack— ANI (@ANI) January 27, 2018
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.
He said a number of people were lying on the ground. People helped walking wounded away as ambulances with sirens wailing inched their way through the traffic-clogged streets of the city centre.
A plume of grey smoke rose from the blast area in the city centre and buildings hundreds of metres away were shaken by the force of the explosion.