Twenty-eight people were killed when a suicide car bomb exploded outside the Indian embassy in Afghanistan’s capital today in the deadliest attack of the year.
More than 140 others were left injured after the massive bomb exploded near a row of metal turnstiles outside the Kabul embassy, where dozens of Afghan men queue every morning to apply for visas.
In two separate bombings of police convoys in the country’s south today, seven officers were killed and 10 others were wounded.
In Uruzgan province, a roadside bomb killed four police on patrol and wounded seven others, and in the Zhari district of Kandahar another roadside blast killed three officers and wounded three more.
The Indian embassy is located on a busy, tree-lined street near Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry in the centre of Kabul.
Several nearby shops were damaged or destroyed in the blast, and smouldering ruins and wounded Afghans covered the street. The explosion rattled much of the Afghan capital.
Ghulam Dastagir, a shopkeeper wounded in the blast, said: “Several shopkeepers have died. I have seen shopkeepers under the rubble.”
Abdullah Fahim, spokesman for the Ministry of Public Health, said the explosion killed at least 28 people and wounded 141.
The explosion was the deadliest attack in Kabul this year and the worst since a suicide bomber attacked an army bus last September, killing 30 people.
Shortly after the attack, a woman ran out of a Kabul hospital screaming, crying and hitting her face with both of her hands. Her two children, a girl named Lima and a boy named Mirwais, had been killed.
“Oh my God!” the woman screamed. “They are both dead.”
Afghan foreign minister Rangeen Dadfar Spanta visited the embassy shortly after the attack.
The Indian ambassador and his deputy were not inside the embassy at the time of the blast.
Militants have frequently attacked Indian offices and projects around Afghanistan since launching an insurgency at the end of 2001. Many Taliban militants have roots in Pakistan, which has long had a troubled relationship with India.
While Afghanistan has seen increasing violence in recent months, Kabul has been largely spared the random bomb attacks that Taliban militants use in their fight against Afghan and international troops.
In September 2006, a suicide bomber near the gates of the Interior Ministry killed 12 people and wounded 42 others. After that blast, additional guards and barriers were posted on the street.