Kabul Blast Death Toll Rising, Toll Stands At 80

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Update: At least 80 killed, over 350 wounded in Kabul blast: Health Ministry.

Afghanistan Ministry of Health confirms 65 dead, & 325 wounded in Kabul blast: Afghan media

Update: 49 dead, more than 300 wounded in #Kabul blast, reports news agency AFP quoting officials.

Update: Afghanistan media confirms 19 dead in the deadly Kabul blast.

Kabul: A powerful heavy explosion has reportedly occurred near the Indian Embassy in the Wazir Mohammad Akbar Khan diplomatic area of Afghan capital Kabul.

Many foreign embassies are located in the area, including the American and Canadian embassies. The Afghan National Security Force (ANSF) has deployed its team in the area for rescue and counter-insurgency operations.

Some 60 people have reportedly been injured in a massive explosion in Kabul’s diplomatic quarter this morning, a few hundred metres from the Indian embassy. The powerful blast damaged windows and doors of the embassy but all officials are safe, sources have confirmed.

Thick smoke could be seen rising from the centre of the city but it is not clear what the target was and there is no immediate confirmation of any casualties.

Sources say the Indian embassy does not appear to be the target. The area where the explosion took place is not too far from the presidential palace and several foreign embassies are also located there. Houses hundreds of metres away from the blast were damaged with windows and doors blown off their hinges.

Witnesses said dozens of cars were blocking roads and some wounded people could be seen. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the attack came as the resurgent Taliban are stepping up their annual “spring offensive”.

The Islamic State group has also claimed responsibility for several recent bombings in the Afghan capital, including a powerful blast targeting an armoured NATO convoy that killed at least eight people and wounded 28 on May 3.

The blast was the latest in a long line of attacks in the Afghan capital. Kabul province had the highest number of casualties in the first three months of 2017 because of  multiple attacks in the city.