KABUL – The Afghan Ministry of Health updated, yet again, to 95 dead and 158 injured the death toll of Saturday’s massive Taliban car-bomb attack in Sadarat Square, downtown Kabul.
The Taliban resorted to an ambulance loaded with explosives to carry out the attack in a busy commercial area near the former Interior Ministry building and a facility of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) in central Kabul.
Afghan Ministry of Public Health Ministry spokesperson, Wahidullah Majroh, confirmed to EFE the latest death toll update of “95 killed and 158 wounded” according to information released by hospitals close to Sadarat Square, where the explosion took place.
Ministry of Interior deputy spokesperson Nasrat Rahimi stated during a press conference in Kabul that the suicide-bomber took the ambulance from the nearby Jamhuriat parking lot and drove it over to the Interior Ministry checkpoint where he was unable to proceed any further.
The car-bomb explosion occurred at around 12:50 pm (0820 GMT) close to the old government building housing some ministry offices and provoking a massacre in the nearby busy, working day, commerce and stall markets.
Rahimi added that four individuals had already been arrested, suspected of assisting the suicide-bomber carry out his terror action.
Earlier Saturday, Kabul police spokesperson, Basir Mujahid, confirmed to EFE that “a suicide bomber with a car laden with explosives tried to penetrate the complex (the ministry), but detonated the vehicle as he was being identified by police at the checkpoint.”
The Taliban claimed the attack in a message on the social network Telegram stating that “a martyr in a car bomb reached the first checkpoint near the Interior Ministry.”
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said that, at the time of the explosion, a large contingent of police officers was in the area.
Also nearby are the public hospital Jamhuriat, some NGO offices, and the busy local markets.
The attack came amid a recent surge in terrorist attacks on civilian targets by the Taliban and Islamic State.
Last weekend, over 20 people died at the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul during an assault by six armed attackers who clashed with security forces for 12 hours.
On Wednesday, IS led an attack on Save the Children’s headquarters in Jalalabad killing four NGO employees, a passerby and a security force member along with the five terrorists.
Although in the first nine months of 2017, the civilian death toll dropped by 6 percent – its first decline since 2012 –, the toll of 2,640 dead and 5,379 wounded remains too high, according to a United Nations report.