Kabul bomb: Afghan leader condemns 'cowardly' attack
Wednesday - 31/05/2017 23:32
President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan has condemned a massive bomb attack in the capital Kabul, which killed at least 90 people, as "cowardly".
A suicide attacker detonated a bomb hidden inside a tanker truck close to the heavily protected diplomatic area during the morning rush hour.
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.
Recent bomb attacks in Kabul have been claimed either by the Taliban or so-called Islamic State (IS).
The bomb exploded close to the German embassy, where a number of staff were injured.
The German authorities postponed a deportation flight due to return failed Afghan asylum seekers, with a government source telling AFP news agency that diplomatic and consular staff had "more important things to do than to deal with organisational matters" so soon after the attack.
A Tolo journalist also said some of the victims were from the Roshan mobile phone company, but this has not been confirmed
Francesca Unsworth, BBC World Service director: It is with great sadness that the BBC can confirm the death of BBC Afghan driver Mohammed Nazir following the vehicle bomb in Kabul earlier today, as he was driving journalist colleagues to the office. Mohammed Nazir worked as a driver for the BBC Afghan service for more than four years and was a popular colleague. He was in his late 30s and he leaves a young family. This is a devastating loss to the BBC and to Mohammed Nazir's friends and family.
Tony Hall, BBC director-general: Many of our staff face dangerous situations every day as they report from volatile areas around the world. It's testament to their bravery that we are able to provide trusted, impartial coverage - but consequences like this are devastating for us all. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mohammed's family and many friends at such a very sad time.
Has Germany stopped deportations indefinitely?
It appears not. AFP's source at the interior ministry said there would be no flights for a few days - but they would resume.
Germany argues Afghanistan is a safe country for failed asylum seekers to return to - unlike Syria, for example.
Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned Wednesday's bombing, saying "terrorism has no borders".
"It targets us all - whether it's in Manchester, or Berlin, Paris, Istanbul, St Petersburg or, today, in Kabul," she said.
What has the other reaction been?
Indian PM Narendra Modi tweeted his condemnation, saying: "Our thoughts are with the families of the deceased & prayers with the injured."
A Pakistani Foreign Office statement denounced the attack, saying: "Pakistan, being a victim of terrorism, understands the pain and agony that such incidents inflict upon people and society."
It has made no comment so far on the latest attack.
When announcing the start of their major spring offensive last month, the Taliban said their main focus would be foreign forces, targeting them with a mix of conventional, guerrilla, insider and suicide attacks.
The US has about 8,400 troops in Afghanistan, with another 5,000 from Nato allies.
The Pentagon has reportedly pressed President Donald Trump to send thousands more troops back to the country to try to counter gains by the Taliban. More than a third of the country is now said to be outside Afghan government control.
A Taliban attack on an Afghan army training compound in the northern city of Mazar-e Sharif last month killed at least 135 soldiers, and led to the resignation of the defence minister and army chief of staff.