Kabul, Jan 12 (EFE).- Italian nonprofit Emergency, which runs one of the major hospitals in Kabul, on Thursday raised the number of wounded to over 40 a day after a suicide bombing against the Afghan foreign ministry, while the official death toll from the attack remains at five.
After the explosion near the foreign ministry, “over 40 injured (have been) received so far in our hospital. Death toll still in progress,” the Afghanistan director of the NGO, Stefano Sozza, said in a statement.
“It is difficult to draw up a balance, and the (assistance) activities are still in progress,” he added.
With their hospital operating at full capacity, Emergency said this was its first mass casualty incident of 2023 and among the ones with the highest number of patients during the past year.
“So much so that we also had to provide beds in the kitchens and in the canteen,” Sozza said.
The Taliban government has so far maintained the death toll at five, but witnesses and people related to the victims claim that the number could be much higher.
“In yesterday’s explosion, 14 of our colleagues lost their lives, I can mention their names and I knew them closely” a foreign ministry official told EFE on the condition of anonymity.
Human rights activist and former Afghan diplomat Aslia Wardak claimed that at least 17 employees of the foreign ministry had been killed in the attack.
“We have lost 17 of our best colleagues and still some of the other colleagues are missing. Thursday is mourning day in foreign ministry,” she tweeted.
The attack took place around 4 pm on Wednesday on a street leading to the foreign ministry compound.
Post-blast images show several bodies lying on the ground, with people in the vicinity coming to their aid.
On Thursday, the Islamic State terror group owned up the attack, claiming that dozens had been killed and injured.
The IS said that one of its fighters detonated his explosive vest among a crowd of ministry employees and security officials as they were leaving the compound.
The Islamic State-Khorasan Province, the Afghan arm of the IS, has emerged as the main threat to the country’s stability after the Taliban seized power in August 2021. EFE