A car bomb targeting a vehicle carrying foreign citizens killed 12 people outside a hospital on a busy Kabul street on Saturday, part of a wave of attacks in the capital since news broke last month of the death of Taliban leader Mullah Omar.
Scores were injured. The force of the blast destroyed several vehicles, including a school van and a pick-up truck left twisted and blackened, with another vehicle in flames. Paramedics carried away casualties on stretchers.
Security sources said the target was a group of foreign security contractors working for DynCorp International. Health officials confirmed at least one foreigner was dead.
“Twelve dead bodies and 66 wounded people were taken to several Kabul hospitals,” health official Kabir Amiry said. “Some were in a bad condition.”
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Minutes after the explosion ripped through the residential street, British and U.S. soldiers arrived at the scene in armoured vehicles. Several armed security contractors also pulled up and ran to the blast site.
DynCorp International did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Bombings have increased in the capital since the government and the Taliban in July confirmed that Mullah Omar had died two years ago. Some analysts say the insurgents are trying to show they remain potent.
The Taliban is fighting to overthrow the foreign-backed government, expel foreign forces from Afghanistan and impose a strict interpretation of Islamic law.
The violence has strained ties with neighbour Pakistan, with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani accusing the government there of not doing enough to stop militants planning attacks from training camps he says lie across the border.
Saturday’s bomb was placed in a Toyota sedan, a security official at the scene said. Flames billowed from the car and parts of it were ripped apart by the blast and scattered along the street.
Glass was blown out of the windows of the Shinozada hospital and a six-storey building opposite. On its website, the Shinozada is described as Afghanistan’s first private hospital.