Coordinated bombings in Kabul during morning rush hour on Monday killed or wounded dozens of people, including emergency workers and journalists who had reached the site of the first explosion, officials said.
Wahid Majrooh, a spokesman for the Afghan Health Ministry, said the estimated toll was 21 dead and 40 wounded so far. Officials and witnesses at the scene said the final casualty figures were likely to be higher.
The first bombing happened just before 8 a.m., near a guarded street behind the American Embassy that leads to many offices, including those of the Afghan intelligence agency. The second explosion, which was described as considerably larger, hit about half an hour later, as responders had gathered near the police cordon blocking the area.
“The second explosion was big, and it was among the crowd, like reporters and government staff who were waiting to go to the office,” said Muhammad Yunus, 38, a witness. “I was very close to the second explosion; I saw dozens of bodies laying on the ground.”
While information about casualties was still coming in, the veteran Agence France-Presse photographer Shah Marai was among those killed, his colleagues confirmed. A spokesman for the health ministry, Wahid Majrooh, said that among the journalists killed were also a reporter from Tolonews, two from 1TV, one from Jahan TV, and one from Azadi radio.
Separately, a suicide bomber rammed a vehicle into an armored Romanian vehicle beside a mosque outside the city of Kandahar, setting off an explosion that killed 11 children and injured 16 others, officials said.