Attack near foreign ministry in Kabul sparks widespread condemnation

The attack near the ministry of foreign affairs in downtown Kabul on Wednesday afternoon, which left at least 20 people dead, has been widely condemned locally and abroad.

The explosion happened outside the entrance gate of the ministry at around 4:00 pm local time.

Former president Hamid Karzai condemned the attack, calling it an act of terror and an inhuman act that contradicts Islamic and human values.

Abdullah Abdullah, former head of the high council for national reconciliation, said the attack was an unforgivable crime, which is against Islamic and human principles.

The Iranian government also condemned the attack and said in a statement that “while expressing our deep condolences and sympathies with the families of victims of this tragic event, we also pray for the martyrs, wish blessings and patience for the survivors and speedy recovery for the wounded.”

“We condemn this afternoon’s attack on the Foreign Ministry in Kabul, which reportedly caused a number of casualties,” UK charge d’affaires Hugo Shorter said in a tweet. “The UK rejects such senseless and indiscriminate acts of violence.”

UNAMA also condemned today’s attack outside the Foreign Ministry in Kabul.

“Reports of numerous casualties, including civilians,” UNAMA said. “Rising insecurity is of grave concern.”

UNAMA said in a tweet that violence is not part of any solution to bring lasting peace to Afghanistan.

Sources told Amu that at least 10 people were killed and 18 more wounded in the attack.

Taliban’s Kabul police command spokesman Khalid Zadran said in a tweet that five civilians were killed in the explosion and some were wounded.

The Emergency NGO said however that the Surgical Centre of the Emergency Hospital in Kabul received more than 40 patients following the explosion.

“Casualty numbers are continuing to rise as the situation unfolds. This was the first mass casualty incident handled by EMERGENCY’s hospital in the capital in 2023. The Surgical Centre handled 29 mass casualty incidents in 2022,” the hospital said in a statement issued soon after the explosion happened.

“We have received more than 40 patients in the hospital, it is difficult to draw up a final number, we are continuing to respond,” explained Stefano Sozza, EMERGENCY’s Country Director in Afghanistan. “This is the first mass casualty in 2023, but certainly one of those with the most patients since the beginning of 2022. So much so that we have also set up beds in the kitchens and canteen.”

In 2022, EMERGENCY treated more than 12,800 patients in its Kabul hospital, including more than 2,500 admissions and over 4,500 surgeries. Of the latter, 99% were gunshot or explosion wounds and stabbings, the statement added.