A massive truck bomb exploded Wednesday morning in the diplomatic section of Afghanistan’s capital, killing at least 80 people and wounding over 350 others.
Afghan health ministry spokesman Wahidullah Majroh confirmed the casualties to VOA, saying the death toll could increase.
The blast ripped through the central Wazir Akbar Khan area of Kabul, home to foreign diplomatic missions and government offices, damaging dozens of vehicles and surrounding buildings. Initial reports said the explosives were hidden in a water tanker.
Afghan officials say the casualty figures are likely to rise.
The target of the massive bombing was not immediately clear. It happened in an area not far from the German embassy. However, the explosion mostly devastated a nearby building, housing the main office of Roshan, the leading telecommunications service provider in Afghanistan.
Injured Afghan men arrive at a hospital after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan, May 31, 2017.
Afghan security forces swiftly cordoned off the area and international troops also have arrived at the site to assist in rescue efforts. There were no immediate claims of responsibility for what residents in Kabul said appeared to be one of the deadliest bombings in years.
Wednesday’s attack comes amid intensified deadly Taliban attacks on Afghan forces while loyalists of Islamic State have also conducted terrorist strikes against high-profile targets in recent months in and outside Kabul.
The latest violence also comes as President Ashraf Ghani is set to host a conference of neighboring and regional countries in Kabul next week to discuss ways to end an increasingly deadly Afghan conflict.