Blast rocks Kabul’s diplomatic zone

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—Photo by AFP


KABUL, Afghanistan: A suicide attacker riding a motorcycle blew himself up inside Kabul’s heavily fortified diplomatic zone on Tuesday, killing at least three people and wounding 15, officials said.

It was the first attack targeting the Afghan capital’s so-called “Green Zone” since a massive truck bomb ripped through the area on May 31, killing or wounding hundreds.

“Our initial information shows the suicide attacker was on a motorcycle. He made it through the first checkpoint but was stopped at the second checkpoint and detonated,” defence ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri told AFP.

“We don’t know the target but it happened a few metres from the defence ministry’s foreign relations office. No casualties to our personnel.”

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which the health ministry said had killed at least three people and wounded 15.

“I was 100 metres away when the explosion happened and as I ran towards the site I saw several people lying in blood — one had been hit in the head and was moving. It was a horrible scene,” an eyewitness told TOLOnews.

AFP reporters heard a loud explosion around 4:00 p.m. (1130 GMT) just as workers would have been leaving their offices to go home, followed by the sirens of emergency services.

Witnesses said they saw multiple casualties being carried from the scene of the blast and driven away in ambulances.

The attack struck the heart of the city’s diplomatic area, where many embassies and the head offices of major international organisations are located.

The Taliban and Islamic State insurgents have stepped up their suicide attacks on security installations and mosques in recent weeks, killing or wounding hundreds.

The last major assault in Kabul was on October 20 when a suicide bomber blew himself up inside a mosque during evening prayers, killing 56 and wounding 55.

That was followed by a suicide attack on a busload of Afghan army trainees that killed 15.

Over the weekend Taliban insurgents, some wearing night-vision goggles, killed 22 Afghan policemen in separate attacks on checkpoints.

Security in Kabul has been ramped up since the May 31 truck bomb that went off on the edge of the Green Zone near the German embassy, killing 150 people and wounding 400 others.

Special truck scanners, barriers and permanent and mobile checkpoints have been rolled out across the city.—AFP

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