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BBC driver among those killed in Kabul attack

31 May 2017

A vehicle bomb in Kabul has killed more than 80 people and injured hundreds more, officials confirmed Wednesday, including staff at the German Embassy in the the Afghan capital.

Hidden in a water delivery truck, the bomb exploded near the German Embassy and the Afghan presidential palace in one of the busiest areas in town.

Mohammed Idris Sarvari - the security chief for the German embassy, said two Afghan guards were killed, and two others are missing.

He vowed that the attack would not shake Germany's determination to "support the Afghan regime with the stabilization of their country". Hospitals frantically appealed for blood donation. India and Pakistan condemned the blast.

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Claimed by the Islamic State, the attack targeted Christians en route to St. Samuel the Confessor monastery in Minya, Egypt, and was the latest in a string of attacks against Coptic Christians in Egypt.

Wednesday's statement from Ghani's office says the president said that "the terrorists, even in the holy month of Ramadan, the month of goodness, blessing and prayer, are not stopping the killing of our innocent people".

A police officer said it was hard to say who was the intended target.

According to the preliminary information of the country's Interior Ministry, the explosive device had been planted in a auto used to transport water. At least 50 people may have been killed or wounded in what officials said was a suicide auto bombing.

Kabul attack death toll at 80
Last month the Taliban announced the start of a major spring offensive, saying their main target would be foreign forces. Pentagon chief Jim Mattis has warned of "another tough year" for both foreign troops and local forces in Afghanistan.

The Islamic State terrorist group has claimed responsibility for Wednesday's terror attack near the diplomatic quarter in downtown Afghanistan's capital Kabul, the Al Mayadeen TV channel said on Twitter.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Ismail Kawasi, spokesman for the public health ministry, said more than 50 wounded people are in Kabul hospitals so far.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing a mushroom cloud engulf the center of the city, while people more than a kilometer away reported windows being shattered from the force of the blast.

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There are about 8,400 U.S. troops in Afghanistan - a majority of them are involved in training and advising Afghan troops. Officials said at least 25 people were wounded, with a number of civilian vehicles destroyed or badly damaged.

BBC driver among those killed in Kabul attack