95 people are dead and another 158 are injured after a suicide bombing in Afghanistan’s capital, according to officials.
The assailants drove an ambulance packed with explosives into a safe zone containing government offices and foreign embassies, bypassing a police checkpoint.
The Taliban has claimed responsibility, just a week after they killed 22 people at a luxury hotel in Kabul. This is their deadliest attack in months.
The intended target is believed to be an interior ministry building, but several civilians walking through the area were hit by the explosion.
Witnesses say the bomb went off at about 12:15 local time, in an area that contained offices of the European Union, a hospital, and a shopping center. The plumes of smoke from the explosion were seen all throughout the city.
A spokesman for the Interior Ministry said the ambulance was allowed through the first checkpoint after the attacker told police he was taking a patient to a nearby hospital. The bomb was detonated at the second checkpoint.
“Indiscriminate attacks against civilians are a serious violation of human rights and humanitarian laws, and can never be justified,” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in a statement.
Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo announced on Twitter that France will show its solidarity with and respect for the dead and injured by shutting off the lights in the Eiffel Tower Saturday night.
The Taliban were ousted from power in Afghanistan in 2001, following a U.S.-led invasion, but returned to take control of large areas of Afghanistan as well as the neighboring country of Pakistan. They have targeted security forces many times in the past in an attempt to reinstate their strict version of Islamic law in the country.