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Kabul Bombing Kills at Least 80, Shaking City Center

The German Embassy suffered extensive damage, with dozens of windows blown in, the public broadcaster ARD reported. It broadcast images showing stunned civilians pressing makeshift bandages to bloody limbs, stumbling through a smoke-filled street as ambulances rushed to the scene, their sirens blaring.

Germany’s foreign minister, Sigmar Gabriel, said that an Afghan security guard employed by the embassy had been killed. He also said that several Germans had been wounded, without providing details. He condemned what he called an attack on “those who are in Afghanistan working with the people there for a better future.”

“To target these people is especially despicable,” Mr. Gabriel said.

But there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, and it was unclear whether the embassy had been specifically targeted.

President Ashraf Ghani called the attack “a crime against humanity.” A statement by Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr., the commander of American and North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces in Afghanistan, applauded the Afghan security forces for preventing the truck full of explosives from entering the Green Zone, a reference to the area that houses the headquarters of the coalition forces as well as several foreign embassies.

“The attack demonstrates a complete disregard for civilians and reveals the barbaric nature of the enemy faced by the Afghan people,” the statement said.

Huge Smoke Cloud Rises Over Kabul Following Bomb Attack Video by Storyful News

Pictures from the scene showed smoke and chaos, with bloodied people on the ground as emergency personnel tried to evacuate victims. Video footage that witnesses filmed immediately after the blast showed vast destruction to the buildings in the area and people stuck in destroyed vehicles amid flames.

There was a heavy security presence, including forces from the United States-led coalition, and helicopters circled overhead. Dozens of people waited outside the large security cordon for news of their loved ones.

Emotions were running high among the Afghan security forces at the scene. Intelligence officers closely checked the paperwork of emergency workers shuttling between the blast site and the hospitals, fearing that they might have been infiltrated by militants planning a follow-up attack.

At one point, after a senior police official tried to pass the cordon with a large entourage of guards, a scuffle broke out, and the police officers and intelligence officers cocked their weapons at one another. But the situation was quickly defused.

Source: NYT > World

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