x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Kabul bombing echoes past tragedies

A suicide bomber blows up a car laden with explosives outside the Indian embassy in the centre of Kabul.

KABUL // In what is believed to be the most deadly attack in the Afghan capital since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, a suicide car bomber blew himself up outside the Indian Embassy, killing more than 40 people and injuring 140.

If a city can ever get used to experiencing tragedies, then this one has. But watching the chaotic scenes that unfolded in the aftermath of the explosion, it was impossible not to wonder if the worst is yet to come. The explosion damaged two embassy vehicles entering the compound, near where dozens of Afghans line up every morning to apply for visas. The embassy is located on a busy, tree-lined street near Afghanistan's interior ministry in the city centre. Several nearby shops were damaged or destroyed in the blast, and smouldering ruins covered the street. A man walked dazed along the pavement, blood dripping from his head as smoke filled the sky. Shattered glass was everywhere and a policeman stood in the middle of it all with a rocket-propelled grenade launcher on his shoulder. The only sounds were shouting and sirens. Elsewhere, someone was crying and gesticulating wildly, trying to break through a hastily erected cordon and reach the point of the bombing. A white pick-up truck had blood smeared across it. Kabul has suffered so much in the past three decades but for a while, for a few a short summers a few years ago, it was like the past had been laid to rest. Yesterday's bombing was a reminder the past has returned. csands@thenational.ae