9 local guards dead, 11 Americans wounded in Kabul

Pakistan on Thursday dismissed accusations by Afghanistan linking it to the Haqqani network, blamed for Wednesday's horrific Kabul bombing that killed 90, and wounded over 400 people.

Afghan security forces and residents stand near the crater left by a truck bomb attack in Kabul on May 31, 2017.

Meanwhile, U.S Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also strongly condemned the attack and said: "We offer our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who were killed and injured, including our Afghan partners, members of the diplomatic and global communities, and many innocent Afghan citizens".

There were 11 USA citizens - all contract personnel - injured in the blast and one Afghan local guard was reported missing, Fox news reported a senior US official as saying.

There was no claim of responsibility for the bombing, which came in the first week of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The Taliban - now in the midst of their annual "spring offensive" - denied they were involved.

Kabul Police spokesperson Basir Mujahid told Efe that according to a preliminary investigation, the vehicle, a small sewage service truck, was loaded with explosives and detonated in an area with heavy traffic.

Iran's official news agency, IRNA, said the residence of the Iranian ambassador was heavily damaged and part of the diplomatic compound was destroyed.

Also in the area is Afghanistan's foreign ministry, the presidential palace and its intelligence and security headquarters.

President Donald Trump spoke with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in the aftermath of the attack.

More than a third of the country is outside government control.

Also, with Islamic State now also having a presence in the country, things have become more volatile.

Germany considers areas of Afghanistan, including Kabul, safe and has been regularly deporting Afghans whose asylum requests have been rejected, particularly those with criminal records.

At least 11 Afghan guards working for the U.S. embassy were among those killed and 11 American citizens working as contractors in Kabul were among the wounded, United States officials said.

The powerful explosion also blew out windows of nearby shops.

The U.S Embassy and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation mission in Kabul are also near, about a kilometer away from the site. Four journalists were wounded and treated in hospital.

Pakistan condemned the "terrorist attack in Kabul this morning that has caused loss of precious human lives and injuries to many".

"We can not say yet exactly what the attack was directed against [as] the explosion was in the diplomatic quarter", a spokeswoman from the German Foreign Ministry said.

It "targets all of us - whether in Manchester or Berlin, Paris, Istanbul, St. Petersburg or today in Kabul", she said in the southern German city of Nuremberg. Germany has granted asylum to nearly 60 percent of Afghan applications, a rate that is significantly higher than in other European Union countries.

Associated Press writer Rahim Faiez reported this story in Kabul and AP writer Kathy Gannon reported from Islamabad.

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