KABUL: A powerful bomb hidden in a sewage tanker exploded in the morning rush hour in the centre of the Afghan capital on Wednesday, police said, killing at least 90 people, wounding hundreds and damaging embassy buildings.
President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack describing it as “cowardly”. Some 400 people were injured by the blast, which left a deep crater.
No group has said it carried out the attack but Taliban militants denied being involved.
The victims appeared mainly to have been Afghan civilians.
The bomb, one of the deadliest in Kabul and coming at the start of the holy month of Ramadan, exploded close to the fortified entrance to the German embassy, killing a security guard and wounding some staff, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Twitter.
“Such attacks do not change our resolve in continuing to support the Afghan government in the stabilization of the country,” he said.
Basir Mujahid, a spokesman for city police, said the explosives were hidden in a sewage tanker. He suggested that the German embassy might not have been the target of the blast, which sent clouds of black smoke into the sky near the presidential palace.
“There are several other important compounds and offices near there too,” he told Reuters.
The blast, which shattered windows and blew doors off their hinges in houses hundreds of metres away, was unusually strong.
The Taliban, seeking to reimpose Islamic rule after their 2001 ouster by U.S.-led forces, denied responsibility and said they condemned attacks that have no legitimate target and killed civilians.
Islamic State, the other main militant group active in Afghanistan, has carried out high profile attacks in Kabul, including an attack on a military hospital in March that killed more than 50 people.