At least 49 killed, 320 injured in Kabul suicide bombing

No group has yet claimed the responsibility of the bombing.

At least 49 killed, 320 injured in Kabul suicide car attack
Afghan police and municipal workers clear debris from the site of a suicide bomb attack in Kabul, Afghanistan May 3, 2017. Reuters

At least 50 people have been killed and more than 300 people were injured after a massive suicide car bombing rocked Kabul's diplomatic quarters during the morning rush hour on Wednesday, the latest attack to hit the Afghan capital.

Reports said the blast struck close to the German embassy in Zanbaq Square with civilians said to be the main casualties. Huge plumes of smoke could be seen rising from the area that witnessed the attack at around 08:25 local time (03:55 GMT). The wounded staggered from the site of a blast so strong it blew out windows and doors hundreds of metres away.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the attack came as the resurgent Taliban are stepping up their annual "spring offensive". Several images showed dozens of blackened and burned out cars.

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.

Basir Mujahid a spokesman for Kabul police told Reuters that it was "hard to say what the exact target is". According to reports, there are many other key buildings in the area, including the presidential palace and a number of embassies, including the British.

Pentagon chief Jim Mattis has warned of "another tough year" for both foreign troops and local forces in Afghanistan. More than one third of the country is outside of government control.

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 thanks to multiple attacks in the city, with civilians bearing the brunt of the violence.

India's Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said the staffs of its embassy, located close to the blast, were safe. "By God's grace, Indian Embassy staff are safe in the massive #Kabul blast," Sushma Swaraj tweeted.