A massive bomb hidden in a tanker truck ripped through the morning commute in Kabul’s diplomatic quarter on Wednesday, killing more than 80 and injuring more than 460, including almost a dozen Americans.
The blast devastated the Afghan capital, and signaled a violent start to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the fighting season throughout the country.
The Afghan Interior Ministry said a massive amount of explosives was hidden in a tanker truck, which detonated at about 8:30 a.m. local time on the busy Wazir Akbar Khan boulevard through the diplomatic quarter, the home of embassies and businesses, according to The Washington Post.
The US State Department said 11 contractors were injured in the blast, and none of the injuries were life threatening.
During Air Force Magazine‘s recent visit to Kabul, the Wazir Akbar Khan boulevard was a lifeline through the city during the morning rush hour, where locals walked, taxis and armored vehicles carried foreigners, and regular commuters snarled in Kabul’s notorious traffic. Traffic headed to the US Embassy and Resolute Support headquarters regularly used the boulevard north of the blast site, but there were no reports of injuries to Resolute Support personnel.
“The vigilance and courage of Afghan security forces prevented the [vehicle borne improvised explosive device] from gaining entry to the Green Zone,” according to a Resolute Support statement. “The attack demonstrates a complete disregard for civilians and reveals the barbaric nature of the enemy faced by the Afghan people” as well as “the hypocrisy of the enemy who claim that they only target Afghan Security Forces and foreign forces, yet continue to cause death and suffering amongst innocent Afghans.”
Photos of the blast site showed a massive crater, and damage spread throughout the area, including the German, Turkish, and Chinese embassies.
The Afghan Taliban denied involvement in the bombing, the Post reported. ISIS had not claimed responsibility as of Wednesday afternoon, but has been involved in bombings and other attacks in the capital, including storming a Kabul military hospital in March and a suicide bomber attack on a US convoy earlier this month.