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Kabul attack: BBC workers among victims in Afghanistan suicide bombing

Driver of BBC team confirmed dead and four journalists injured, corporation confirms, in one of the biggest attacks ever seen in Kabul 

Wednesday 31 May 2017 11:17 BST
Suicide bomb kills at least 80 and wounds more than 350 in Afghanistan

Four BBC workers and their Afghan driver were caught up in the suicide bombing outside the Germany embassy in Kabul, the corporation has said.

The driver killed in Wednesday's attack was named as Mohammed Nazir, a father in his late thirties who had worked for the BBC for more than four years. Four journalists were injured, though their wounds were not believed to be life-threatening, the BBC said in a statement.

The huge blast killed at least 90 people and injured more than 400 after a sewage tanker filled with explosives was detonated at an intersection in the heavily guarded diplomatic quarter.

Karim Haidari, the BBC bureau's manager, tweeted a picture of the colleague who lost his life in the incident.

No group has yet claimed responsibility, but the Taliban has denied involvement.

Spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said that Wednesday's explosion had "nothing to do with the Mujahedeen of Islamic Emirate," as the Taliban call themselves.

His statement added that the Taliban condemn "every explosion and attack carried out against civilians, or in which civilians are harmed."

Even though the organisation claim they are only waging war against the US-backed Kabul government and foreign forces in Afghanistan, most of the casualties of their attacks are civilians.

There has been no statement from Isis, although it is not unusual for the group to wait for a day or two after an attack before claiming responsibility.

At least one journalist working for local news agency Tolo was killed, as well as a security guard at the German embassy. Several German and Japanese nationals were injured in the blast, the countries' respective security services said.

Turkey and China confirmed their embassy buildings sustained large amounts of damage in the explosion, which set dozens of cars on fire and broke doors and windows up to a kilometre (half a mile) from the blast site.

Local hospitals were overwhelmed by the numbers of injured people arriving in makeshift ambulances and the death toll is expected to rise, the interior ministry said.

A wave of recent violence across the country has been claimed by both groups. Before Wednesday, a total of 220 people had been killed in extremist incidents in Kabul since April 2015.

A further 135 soldiers were killed in a Taliban offensive on an army training compound in the north of the country last month.

"Today the enemies of Afghanistan once again showed their brutality by killing and wounding civilians. The enemy has no mercy on civilians," a statement from the Afghan government condemning the attack said.

The country has become increasingly restive since most international troops withdrew in 2014. Since then, the Taliban has managed to seize control of around 40 per cent of Afghanistan - although it holds no cities - and other militants such as Isis have gained a foothold.

Last month the Pentagon urged US President Donald Trump to send reinforcement troops to cope with the deteriorating security situation.

Around 8,400 US military staff and 5,000 soldiers from Nato ally countries are currently deployed to Afghanistan.

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