Kabul: /DNA/ – At least five people were killed and dozens wounded by a suicide bomber near the Afghan foreign ministry in Kabul Wednesday, where a Chinese delegation had been due to meet, officials and witnesses said.
A company driver waiting outside saw a man holding a bag and with a rifle slung over his shoulder walk past before the man blew himself up.
“He passed by my car and after a few seconds there was a loud blast,” Jamshed Karimi said, adding he saw 20 to 25 casualties. “I saw the man blowing himself up.”
Kabul police spokesman Khalid Zadran said five civilians were killed and several more wounded by the blast.
Italian nongovernmental organisation Emergency NGO, which operates a hospital in Kabul, said it received more than 40 wounded people.
“Casualty numbers are continuing to rise as the situation unfolds,” Emergency said in a statement.
“So much so that we have also set up beds in the kitchens and canteen,” Emergency’s country director, Stefano Sozza, said in the statement.
Bodies lay strewn on the road in the aftermath outside the high-walled compound of the ministry, marked with the Taliban flag, a video verified by AFP showed.
Some wounded people writhed on the ground, screaming for help, and a handful of onlookers scrambled to offer assistance.
The ministry itself did not appear to be badly damaged. Window panes in the interior ministry were also shattered by the impact of the blast.
“There was supposed to be a Chinese delegation at the Foreign Ministry today, but we don’t know if they were present at the time of the blast,” deputy minister of information and culture Muhajer Farahi told AFP.
However, Ahmadullah Muttaqi, a senior official at the prime minister’s office, said no foreigners were present at the ministry when the suicide bomber struck.