Afghanistan attack: Kabul suicide blast deaths rise to 64

Afghan security forces carry an injured security personnel after a suicide car bomb attack in Kabul, Afghanistan on April 19, 2016. Photo: Reuters

The death toll from a huge explosion in the centre of the Afghan capital Kabul on Tuesday has more than doubled to 64 people, the government says.

Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi tweeted that 64 "innocent Afghans" were killed and 347 wounded.

A suicide attacker detonated a vehicle and a fierce gun battle followed in one of the deadliest attacks in Kabul for years.

A Taliban spokesman said the group carried out the attack.

It came a week after it said it was launching its "spring offensive", warning of large-scale attacks, although the group fights all year round.

Several hundred people were wounded in the blast - which was so big that one police officer said it left him unable to see or hear for 20 minutes. Photo: AP

Tuesday's bombing happened during the morning rush hour in Pul-e-Mahmud, a busy neighbourhood where homes, mosques, schools and businesses nestle close to the ministry of defence, other ministries and military compounds.

The blast shattered windows up to 1.6km (one mile) away. A police officer told the Associated Press it was one of the most powerful explosions he had ever heard, and he could not see or hear anything for 20 minutes after.

Afghan security forces take position at the site of a suicide car bomb attack in Kabul, Afghanistan on April 19, 2016. Photo: Reuters

It appears the initial blast cleared the way for Taliban fighters to enter the area - a commonly used tactic.

It had previously been reported that at least 28 people had been killed and 329 injured.

An Afghan man receives treatment at a hospital after a suicide car bomb attack in Kabul, Afghanistan on April 19, 2016. Photo: Reuters

Sediqqi told reporters that most of the 64 now reported dead were civilians. He said most of the wounded were in a stable condition.

At least 71 Shia worshippers were killed in 2011 in a rare attack on a Shia shrine in Kabul.

Afghan security forces regularly foil similar attacks, correspondents say, but with explosives easily available and bomb-making skills common, it is difficult to prevent all of them.

Deadly attacks in Kabul

--7 August 2015: A wave of attacks in Kabul on the army, police and US forces kill at least 50 people

--13 May 2015: An attack at the Park Palace Hotel kills 14 people

--17 January 2014: Suicide and gun attack on the Taberna du Liban restaurant kills 21 people

--6 December 2011: At least 71 Shia worshippers killed in an attack on a Shia shrine

--7 July 2008: Suicide bomber kills 41 people after ramming a car full of explosives into the Indian embassy's gate


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