17 killed in blast outside Indian embassy in Kabul: Staff safe

      At least 17 people were reportedly killed and over 80 injured in a suicide car bomb explosion outside the Indian embassy in Kabul on Thursday morning. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack which was similar to the one of July last year. A spokesman of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi said the explosion took place outside the heavily fortified walls of the Indian Embassy. He said that the blast took place at 8.27 a.m., and added that the walls of the complex had sustained some damage. Earlier, an Indian Embassy official in Kabul said that all embassy staff were safe and that only one Afghan policeman had been killed in the explosion. According to the official, since the blast occurred early in the day, the toll was minimised as staff was yet to turn up for duty inside the heavily fortified complex. The embassy official said the explosion took place at around 9 a.m. local time. Though he did not mention the nature of the attack, local television stations said it was a car bomb attack. Afghan President Hamid Karzai described it as a "heinous act of terror" planned to target civilians. "This heinous act of terror was an obvious attack on civilians. The perpetrators of this attack and those who planned it are vicious terrorists who kill innocent people for their malicious goals," he said in a statement. Karzai extended his heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the families of the victims.

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