| 8.8°C Belfast

BBC man among 80 killed in huge Kabul blast

 

Afghanistan bomb: Shockwave of destruction hits Kabul [photos] Close

A dog is seen running at the site of a car bomb attack in Kabul on May 31, 2017.
Photo: Shah Maraishah Marai, AFP/ Getty Images

A dog is seen running at the site of a car bomb attack in Kabul on May 31, 2017. Photo: Shah Maraishah Marai, AFP/ Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

Afghan residents wounded in a car bomb attack receive treatment at a hospital in Kabul on May 31, 2017. Photo: Wakil Kohsar, AFP/Getty Images

Afghan residents wounded in a car bomb attack receive treatment at a hospital in Kabul on May 31, 2017. Photo: Wakil Kohsar, AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

Afghan residents wounded in a car bomb attack receive treatment at a hospital in Kabul on May 31, 2017.Photo: Wakil Kohsar, AFP/Getty Images

Afghan residents wounded in a car bomb attack receive treatment at a hospital in Kabul on May 31, 2017.Photo: Wakil Kohsar, AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

Afghan volunteers bring the body of a resident killed in a car bomb attack to the Wazir Akbar Khan hospital in Kabul on May 31, 2017.Photo: Wakil Kohsar, AFP/Getty Images

Afghan volunteers bring the body of a resident killed in a car bomb attack to the Wazir Akbar Khan hospital in Kabul on May 31, 2017.Photo: Wakil Kohsar, AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

Security forces carry the wreckage of car near the site of a suicide attack where German Embassy is located in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, May 31, 2017.  Photos: Rahmat Gul, AP

Security forces carry the wreckage of car near the site of a suicide attack where German Embassy is located in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, May 31, 2017. Photos: Rahmat Gul, AP

AP

Afghan security forces arrive at the site of a car bomb attack in Kabul on May 31, 2017.
Photo: Shah Marai, AFP/Getty Images

Afghan security forces arrive at the site of a car bomb attack in Kabul on May 31, 2017. Photo: Shah Marai, AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

Security forces are seen in front of the German Embassy after a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, May 31, 2017. Photos: Rahmat Gul, AP

Security forces are seen in front of the German Embassy after a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, May 31, 2017. Photos: Rahmat Gul, AP

AP

Security forces inspect near the site of an explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, May 31, 2017. Photo:Rahmat Gul, AP

Security forces inspect near the site of an explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, May 31, 2017. Photo:Rahmat Gul, AP

AP

An injured man is seen after an explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, May 31, 2017. Photo: Rahmat Gul, AP

An injured man is seen after an explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, May 31, 2017. Photo: Rahmat Gul, AP

AP

Security forces inspect near the site of an explosion where German Embassy is located in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, May 31, 2017. Photo: Rahmat Gul, AP

Security forces inspect near the site of an explosion where German Embassy is located in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, May 31, 2017. Photo: Rahmat Gul, AP

AP

Roshan mobile company personal walk away near the site of an explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, May 31, 2017. (Photo: Massoud Hossaini, AP Photos)

Roshan mobile company personal walk away near the site of an explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, May 31, 2017. (Photo: Massoud Hossaini, AP Photos)

AP

/

A dog is seen running at the site of a car bomb attack in Kabul on May 31, 2017. Photo: Shah Maraishah Marai, AFP/ Getty Images

The death toll from a bomb that rocked Kabul on Wednesday morning has risen to 80, including a BBC driver.

A massive explosion has rocked a highly secure diplomatic area of Kabul, killing 80 people, including a BBC driver, and wounding as many as 350.

The number of casualties originally estimated by the interior ministry, was 64.

Among those injured are four BBC journalists. Their driver, Mohammed Nazir, died in the explosion.

In a statement released on Twitter, the BCC News Press Team said: "It is great sadness that the BBC can confirm the death of BBC Afghan driver Mohammed Nazir, following the vehicle bomb in Kabul earlier today, as he was driving journalist colleagues to the office."

Mr Nazir, who is in his 30s and leaves a young family, had worked with the BCC for more than four years. He was described as "a popular colleague".

"This is a devastating loss to the BCC and to Mohammed Nazir's friends and family," the statement continued. "We are doing all we can to support them and the rest of the team in Kabul."

The four journalists' injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

Close

The BCC News Press Team released this statement on Twitter following the death of driver Mohammed Nazir in Kabul on Wednesday. (31/05/17)

The BCC News Press Team released this statement on Twitter following the death of driver Mohammed Nazir in Kabul on Wednesday. (31/05/17)

The BCC News Press Team released this statement on Twitter following the death of driver Mohammed Nazir in Kabul on Wednesday. (31/05/17)

 

The attack left a scene of mayhem and destruction and sent a huge plume of smoke over the Afghan capital.

The target of the blast - which officials said was a suicide car bombing - is unclear, but Ismail Kawasi, spokesman for the public health ministry, said most of the casualties were civilians, including women and children.

It was one of the worst attacks Kabul has seen since the drawdown of foreign forces at the end of 2014.

Images from the scene showed the German embassy and several others heavily damaged. Germany and Pakistan said some of their embassy employees and staff were hurt in the explosion.

The explosion took place at the peak of Kabul's rush hour when roads are packed with commuters. It went off close to a busy intersection in the Wazir Akbar Khan district, said Najib Danish, deputy spokesman for the Interior Ministry.

The neighbourhood is considered Kabul's safest area, with foreign embassies protected by dozens of 10ft blast walls and government offices, guarded by police and national security forces.

The Foreign Ministry and the Presidential Palace are in the area, as are the British, Canadian, Chinese, Turkish and Iranian embassies.

TV footage showed shocked residents soaked in blood stumbling about, then being ferried away to hospitals. Passers-by stopped and helped the wounded into private cars, and others congregated outside the nearby Italian-run Emergency Hospital.

A statement from the Ministry of Interior Affairs said it "condemns in the strongest terms the terrorist attack".

"These heinous acts go against the values of humanity as well values of peaceful Afghans. These attacks also demonstrate the extreme level of atrocity by terrorists against innocent civilians."

President Ashraf Ghani strongly condemned the attack, which came days into the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. A statement from his office quoted Mr Ghani as saying "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".

Pakistan condemned the "terrorist attack in Kabul this morning that has caused loss of precious human lives and injuries to many". Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: "The blast has caused damage to the residences of some Pakistani diplomats and staff, living in the close vicinity, and inflicted minor injuries to some."

The Foreign Ministry in Berlin said it had no immediate information on possible casualties or damage to the German embassy but was trying to get more details.

Germany has had troops in Afghanistan for 15 years, primarily concentrated in the north in and around Mazar-E-Sharif. They are one of the biggest contributors to the Nato-led Resolute Support mission with around 980 soldiers on the ground to support and train Afghan security forces.

The explosion was so heavy that more than 50 vehicles were either destroyed or damaged.

Belfast Telegraph


Privacy