The death toll in Kabul continued to rise after an explosion on Wednesday. This issue shocked the entire country. At 8:30 in the morning, a truck that had been transporting water or human waste exploded near Zanbaq Square in Kabul’s tenth district. This area, where various foreign embassies live in, is known as the diplomatic district, and as such, it is often considered to be the safest place in Kabul.
The death toll has risen from eighty casualties to ninety casualties and the number is expected to continue to rise. Over three hundred people were injured in the blast, including eleven citizens of the United States, all of whom are expected to make a full recovery. So far, all of those reported dead have been Afghani citizens.
Soon after the bombing, Kabul was in chaos. Jennifer Glasse, a reporter for NPR described the scene, “a mile away there was first a low rumble like an earthquake, then the shock wave from the blast followed and blew open doors and windows. Closer to the explosion it shattered glass in homes, offices and cars.” Fatima Faizi, a resident of Kabul said, “the explosion was so loud that it shattered all my windows. I did not hear something this big before.” According to Al-Jareeza reporter Qais Azimy, “this is one of the biggest attacks in Afghanistan that I have ever seen. It’s a very sad and very bloody day for the people of Kabul.”
Afghani President Ashraf Ghani announced he “strongly condemns the cowardly attack in the holy month of Ramadan targeting innocent civilians in their daily life.” According to Afghani media, “in this powerful attack 90 people have been killed and 400 wounded, including many women and children.” The truck was unable to make it into the areas closest to the embassies and instead exploded on a populated street close to shops and restaurants. According to security commentator Mushtaq Rahim, “the area is heavily guarded and there is usually a traffic jam, just because of security-controlled points in the area. And that was one of the main reasons that we had so many civilian casualties.” Still, Afghani officials are concerned with the lapse in security that allowed the truck to get so close to the embassies. Though no foreign workers were killed, security guards outside the German Embassy are among the list of casualties.
Afghanistan has suffered from many terror attacks in recent months, including the bombing of a NATO convoy that killed eight people in early May. ISIS claimed responsibility for the NATO convoy bombing. Meanwhile, the Taliban announced in April their plans for a “spring offensive” that targeted foreign troops. However, neither group has claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s attack. The Taliban has denied any involvement in the bombing. According to a statement made by Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid, “my outfit has nothing to do with this blast and that they have not carried out the attack.”
There are so many factors that remain unknown in Kabul. How many victims are still uncounted? Who is responsible for this bombing? Who was the target? How can Kabul increase their security to prevent such an explosion from happening again? All of these questions and more will need to be answered to make any sense of violence that continues to plague Afghanistan. For now, Kabul must mourn the latest loss of civilian lives in a long history of civilian casualties in the capital city.