KABUL: A suicide bombing in a busy commercial area in Kabul near a string of banks and not far from the US Embassy killed at least five people on Tuesday, Afghan officials said. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, reports AP.
Elsewhere, at least 13 civilians were killed in an overnight airstrike by the Afghan air force that targeted the Taliban in western Herat province.
In the Kabul attack, the explosion likely targeted a branch of the privately owned Kabul Bank, according to Basir Mujahid, spokesman for the Kabul police chief. The US Embassy compound is located about 500 meters (yards) down the road from the bank.
At the site of the blast, debris and twisted metal lay scattered on the pavement. The front side of the bank was completely shattered and there was much damage to the fronts of several adjacent businesses. A charred motorcycle with its parts mangled lay on the street.
Along with the five killed, the attack also wounded nine, said Mohammad Salim Rasouli, chief of Kabul hospitals at the Health Ministry. He warned that those were only initial reports and that the casualty toll could rise further.
The bomber had walked up to the bank and was about to go through the security check and enter the bank, an Afghan official told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media. Apparently realizing he would not pass the body check, he detonated his explosives vest just outside the door, the official added.
Sayed Jan, a government employee who was waiting in line with colleagues to get his salary said he didn’t realize immediately what was happening.
“When I came out (of the bank), I suddenly saw police opening fire, I was confused about what was happening,” he said. “I saw my friends running away.” Two of his friends were among the nine wounded in the attack, he added.