Live

Watch CBSN Live

Carnage in Kabul from powerful truck bomb

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Kabul police say a bomb hidden in a truck exploded in the center of the Afghan capital. 15 people were killed and hundreds were wounded, CBS News' Ahmad Mukhtar reports.

240 people were injured, including 47 women and 30 children, the Afghan president's deputy spokesman Sayed Zafar Hashimmi said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. A Taliban spokesman said "we are still investigating and trying to contact out people on the ground to see if we have conducted this attack," Mukhtar reports.

The Taliban usually does not claim responsibility for attacks that kill civilians.

In a statement, U.S.-led NATO forces strongly condemned the attack.

It was apparently the biggest explosion in Kabul in recent years, and was the second suicide attack in Afghanistan and first in Kabul since word came recently of the death of longtime figurehead Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar.

Police chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi said the blast, in a heavily populated area, was near a Defense Ministry compound, but all the victims were civilians, including women and children, Mukhtar reports.

Rahimi told CBS News a market was completely destroyed as were several houses, and dozens of other houses were damaged. Windows were blown out. Many of the injuries came from flying glass and debris, he said.

Reuters news agency says witnesses told it the explosion "left hole in the ground more than 10 meters deep, reduced nearby buildings to rubble and damaged cars at least a hundred meters away."

Police don't allow trucks to enter Kabul during the day, but they can enter from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m.

CBS News was told the 1 a.m. blast was so powerful and was heard around the city. Officials said casualties would have been much greater if the bomb had gone off during the day.

View CBS News In