At least 80 people were killed and 350 wounded in Kabul on Wednesday when a powerful vehicle-borne bomb exploded in the middle of the Afghan capital. Picture: Xinhua/Rahmat Alizadah
At least 80 people were killed and 350 wounded in Kabul on Wednesday when a powerful vehicle-borne bomb exploded in the middle of the Afghan capital. Picture: Xinhua/Rahmat Alizadah

BBC driver killed, four journalists injured in Kabul blast

By Dpa, Tulay Karadeniz, Madeline Chambers, Michelle Martin And Mirwais Harooni Time of article published May 31, 2017

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Kabul – One BBC employee has been killed and four journalists injured in the bomb attack in Kabul, the broadcaster confirmed.

"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," Francesca Unsworth, the BBC World Service Director, said in a statement.

"Four BBC journalists were also injured and were treated in hospital. Their injuries are not thought to be life threatening," Unsworth said.

"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 thirties and he leaves a young family," she added.

"This is a devastating loss to the BBC and to Mohammed Nazir's friends and family. We are doing all we can to support them and the rest of the team in Kabul."

Turkey's foreign ministry said on Wednesday its embassy building in the Afghan capital Kabul was damaged in an explosion that killed at least 80 people, adding that its staff at the mission were unharmed.

The bomb, one of the deadliest in Kabul and coming at the start of the holy month of Ramadan, has also wounded hundreds of people.

Employees at the German embassy in Kabul were injured in a powerful bomb explosion in the Afghan capital on Wednesday and one Afghan security guard was killed, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Twitter.

"The attack took place very close to the German embassy. It hit civilians and those who are in Afghanistan to work for a better future for the country with the people there. It's especially contemptible that these people were the target," Gabriel said.

The Afghan Taliban denied responsibility for a vehicle bomb attack.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement the movement's fighters had no involvement and said the movement condemned any such untargeted attacks that caused civilian casualties.

China's foreign ministry says its embassy building in Kabul has been partly damaged.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters at a regularly scheduled media briefing on Wednesday that all embassy staff members were "safe and sound" and that there had been no reports of injured Chinese citizens.

Hua said China strongly condemned the attack and offered its condolences to the victims and their families. She told reporters that the Chinese government will be assessing the situation and considering additional safety measures.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for Wednesday's explosion, which struck the heart of Kabul's highly secure diplomatic district, the Wazir Akbar Khan area.

The neighborhood is home to several embassies and not far from the Presidential Palace and foreign ministry.

The Foreign Ministry has activated a crisis team to help deal with the aftermath of the bombing on Wednesday that hit at the heart of Kabul's diplomatic section, the explosion going off in a highly secure area close to the German and several other embassies.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has strongly condemned the massive attack in Kabul earlier in the morning, just days into the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

A statement from the Ministry of Interior Affairs says it "condemns in the strongest terms the terrorist attack" that killed so many, including women and children. The ministry did not have details on the possible target of the attack.

DPA, Reuters and AP

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