11 US citizens injured in Kabul blast

11 US citizens injured in Kabul blast
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At least 11 U.S. citizens were injured in a massive explosion in the diplomatic and government area of Kabul, Afghanistan, the State Department confirmed Wednesday afternoon.

“Eleven U.S. citizen contract personnel were injured in the attack in Kabul,” a State Department official said. “None of their injuries appear to be life-threatening.”

A water tanker laden with explosives detonated during the Wednesday morning rush hour on the edge of what’s known as the Green Zone, a heavily fortified area of diplomatic and government buildings. The blast went off near the German Embassy.

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At least 90 people were killed. Among those reported dead are an Afghan security guard employed by the German Embassy and a driver for the BBC.

Approximately 400 people also have been reported injured.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. The Taliban issued a statement denying involvement, according to The Associated Press.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has not commented on Wednesday’s bombing. The terrorist group has committed other high-profile, complex attacks in Kabul in recent months, including an assault on a hospital in March in which fighters disguised themselves as doctors and killed more than 30 people.

In a statement earlier Wednesday, the U.S. and NATO coalition in Afghanistan suggested Afghan forces prevented the bombers from penetrating the walls of the Green Zone.

“The vigilance and courage of Afghan security forces prevented the [car bomb] from gaining entry to the Green Zone, but the explosion caused civilian casualties in the vicinity,” the statement said. “We praise the courage of Afghan Security Forces, especially the police and first responders. Attacks such as these only serve to strengthen our commitment to our Afghan partners as they seek a peaceful, stable future for their country.”

The attack comes as President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump defends indicted GOP congressman House to vote Thursday on holding Bannon in contempt Youngkin calls for investigation into Loudoun County School Board amid sexual assault allegations MORE is weighing a Pentagon request to send 3,000 to 5,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan.

NATO countries are likewise considering whether to increase their troop levels alongside the United States. The issue was discussed at the NATO heads of state meeting last week, though no announcement on a decision was made.

U.S. military officials have described the 15-year-old war against the Taliban as a “stalemate” and say thousands more troops are needed.

Right now, there are about 8,400 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. They have a dual mission of training, advising and assisting Afghan forces in their fight against the Taliban and conducting counterterrorism missions against groups such as ISIS and al Qaeda.

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Wednesday's bombing shows the need for Trump to articulate a strategy for Afghanistan.

"While Afghan authorities carry out the sad, but all too familiar work of healing the wounded, restoring calm, and repairing the damage, the Trump administration still has no strategy to wind down the conflict in Afghanistan," he said in a statement. "Donald Trump might like the feeling of dropping the Mother of All Bombs, but it won't bring stability and it isn't a plan to prevent future attacks. Rather, we need to train Afghan security forces and promote a political solution to bring an end to the violence."