Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) officials have confirmed that the Australian embassy in Afghanistan is in lockdown after an explosion hit Kabul on Wednesday.
Secretary for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Frances Adamson heard of the incident while in a parliamentary estimates hearing and confirmed the Australian embassy is in lockdown but all staff are safe.
DFAT secretary Frances Adamson heard about explosion in Kabul during estimates hearing, says Aus embassy in lockdown but staff safe pic.twitter.com/mWLnPYKlVz— Josh Butler (@JoshButler) May 31, 2017
Australia condemns the terrorist attack in Kabul today. We stand firmly with the people of Afghanistan in the fight against terrorism.— Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) May 31, 2017
"We've just received news of a very large vehicle-borne improvised explosive device having gone off in Kabul and our embassy is in lockdown," she said.
"I believe that all of our staff are safe and have been accounted for."
While the target of the explosion remains unconfirmed by Afghan officials, at least 80 people are believed to have been killed and more than 350 injured in the incident and images have come to light on social media that show extensive damage to buildings in the area.
Basir Mujahid a spokesman for Kabul police said: "It was a car bomb near the German embassy, but there are several other important compounds and offices near there too. It is hard to say what the exact target is.
Responsibility for the explosion is yet to be claimed by any particular group.
The incident follows an attack on Afghan soldiers by Taliban attackers in April while disguised in military uniforms. At least 140 soldiers were killed in the incident, making it the deadliest attack ever on an Afghan military base.
Additionally, the explosion comes after a car bomb attack on an ice-cream parlour in Baghdad killed at least 15 people on Tuesday, including a 12-year-old Australian girl who was visiting her sick grandfather in Iraq with her parents.
Zaynb Al Harbeya and her family had been fasting for Ramadan and they had broken their fast just after midnight. Zaynb had wanted to go for ice-cream at the Al-Faqm parlour and had gone to pay when the bomb went off, her family told Sky News.
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