9 local guards dead, 11 Americans wounded in Kabul

The Afghan government's media center has raised the death toll from the massive suicide truck bombing in Kabul to 90 killed.

In addition to the fatalities, 300 others were injured, the health ministry said. Numerous victims appear to be civilians, including women and children. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for several recent bombings in the Afghan capital, including a powerful blast targeting a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation convoy that killed eight people earlier this month. The German Embassy, the Foreign Ministry and the Presidential Palace are all in the area.

But the dead also included Afghan security guards at the facilities, including the U.S. Embassy, while 11 American contractors were wounded - none with life-threatening injuries, a U.S. State Department official said.

"By God's grace, Indian Embassy staff are safe in the massive Kabul blast", India's foreign minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted.

Hospitals initially reported 80 people were killed by the blast and 350 were wounded. "These attacks also demonstrate the extreme level of atrocity by terrorists against innocent civilians".

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The powerful blast, which was heard in several parts of the city, happened amid the holy month of Ramadan and during rush hour when people were going to their work places.

Pakistani and German embassy officials were among those injured in the blast, according to the countries' respective offices.

After a major suicide bomb tore through a busy neighborhood in Kabul, killing at least 80 people, Pope Francis condemned the "brutal" act, offering his prayers for the victims and for peace in the country.

"The vigilance and courage of Afghan security forces prevented (it) from gaining entry to the Green Zone but the explosion caused civilian casualties in the vicinity", a statement said. Attacks have been claimed by an Islamic State group affiliate as well as the Taliban. A spokeswoman for the German foreign ministry said the bomber's target was unknown.

Nine local Afghanistan hires working for the United States in a security capacity were killed in the blast, according to senior USA officials. He said more than 30 vehicles were destroyed or damaged. All the windows in his shop and others around him were shattered, he added.

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