KABUL (Reuters) - A powerful truck bomb tore through the center of the Afghan capital early on Friday morning, killing at least eight people and wounding over a hundred, police and health ministry officials said.
“A truck bomb detonated close to an army compound,” Kabul police chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi said.
At least eight bodies had been counted by the police, Rahimi said, while some 128 people had been wounded in the blast.
Dozens were wounded by debris and glass shattering in the heavily populated area. Cars parked on roads in the vicinity of the blast were damaged for at least a hundred meters, a Reuters witness said.
It was an unusually powerful blast in a city that is frequently targeted by the Taliban and other militants seeking to destabilize the Afghan government.
The Afghan capital is heavily guarded by the Afghan army and police. While magnet bombs or suicide attacks have become a weekly occurrence, large truck bombs have rarely penetrated the city’s outskirts.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which sent shock waves across the center of the capital, and ripped through homes and shops.
A Western security source said the target was probably a compound used by Afghan intelligence officials in the area and that as many as 15 people had been killed in the blast.
An official at the Emergency Hospital in Kabul said the facility had been flooded with patients, including many women and children.
Most were arriving on foot, the official said, and were being treated for superficial wounds. He said doctors had already started operating on the more severe cases.
The Afghan war between the foreign-backed government and the Taliban has intensified since the NATO combat mission ended last year and most foreign troops were withdrawn.
Clashes are reported every day and civilians are frequently caught in crossfire.
Almost 5,000 civilians have been wounded or killed in the first six months of 2015 as a result of the conflict, according to the United Nations.
Editing by Grant McCool, Toni Reinhold