A bomb explosion near the foreign ministry in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, Wednesday killed at least five people and wounded at least 40 others.
Khalid Zadran, a spokesman for the Kabul city police, confirmed the death toll and condemned what he called a “cowardly act” targeting Afghan civilians.
An Italian-based charitable EMERGENCY hospital in Kabul is treating many of the wounded.
“We have received more than 40 patients in the hospital; it is difficult to draw up a final number. We are continuing to respond,” said Stefano Sozza, the country director of the charity.
“This is the first mass casualty in 2023, but certainly one of those with the most patients since the beginning of 2022. So much so that we have also set up beds in the kitchens and canteen,” Sozza added.
Zadran did not say whether the attack was the work of a suicide bomber or a planted device caused the blast. The violence took place in a heavily fortified area housing several embassies and Afghan ministries.
“The perpetrators will be found and punished for their subversive actions,” Zadran told VOA in written comments shortly after the attack took place.
No group immediately claimed responsibility.
Kabul has experienced a spate of high-profile attacks in recent weeks, mostly claimed by the Afghan affiliate of the Islamic State terrorist group, known as Islamic State-Khorasan.
The violence included an assassination attempt on Pakistan’s ambassador in the country, a gun-and-bomb raid on a downtown Kabul hotel that injured five Chinese nationals staying there, and a suicide bombing at the entrance to the military airport in the city, which reportedly killed several Taliban security forces.
The Islamist Taliban seized control of Afghanistan in August 2021 and have since conducted repeated counterterrorism operations against hideouts of Islamic State-Khorasan.
Last week, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said their special forces had raided several hideouts of the terror group in the Afghan capital and beyond, killing 11 militants and capturing seven others.
Mujahid announced the details in a statement, saying the slain men included several foreigners, and that they played a role in attacks on the Pakistani diplomat, Chinese nationals and the military airport, claims that could not independently be verified.
No country has yet formally recognized the Taliban government. Several regional countries, including China, Iran, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, and Turkey, have kept their embassies open in Kabul. Western nations, including the United States, moved their diplomatic missions to Qatar’s capital, Doha, just days before the Taliban takeover and withdrawal of all international forces from Afghanistan.