Scores of civilians have been killed after a massive explosion in a highly secure diplomatic area of Kabul left 64 people dead and wounded more than 300, the Afghan interior ministry said on Wednesday, according to The Guardian.

The huge explosion went off close to the German embassy in the Wazir Akbar Khan area of the capital on Wednesday morning.  

The explosion occurred at the peak of Kabul’s rush hour when roads are packed with commuters.

Basir Mujahid, a spokesman for Kabul police, said it had hit close to the fortified entrance to the German Embassy.

“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,” Mujahid said.

Najib Danish, deputy spokesman for the Afghan interior ministry, said the blast was so heavy more than 30 vehicles were either destroyed or damaged.

Houses hundreds of meters away from the explosion were damaged with windows and doors blown off their hinges.  

While embassies and government buildings in the area are located behind fortified security walls, the road where the car bomb detonated is open to the public. Connecting two main traffic circles, the strip is always busy with civilian pedestrians and drivers, particularly in the morning.

Meanwhile, Metro reports that at least 80 people were killed and more than 350 injured after a huge car bomb went off in the Afghan capital, Kabul, Wednesday morning.

Authorities warned the toll could yet rise. ‘They are still bringing bodies and wounded people to hospitals,’ senior health ministry spokesman Ismael Kawoosi told AFP.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the attack came as the resurgent Taliban step up their annual ‘spring offensive’.

The Islamic State group has also claimed responsibility for several recent bombings in the Afghan capital, including a powerful blast targeting an armored NATO convoy that killed at least eight people and wounded 28 on May 3.

Pentagon chief Jim Mattis has reportedly warned of ‘another tough year’ for both foreign troops and local forces in Afghanistan.

Afghan troops are backed by US and NATO forces, and the Pentagon has reportedly asked the White House to send thousands more troops to the country to break the deadlock in the fight against the Taliban.

US troops in Afghanistan number about 8,400 today, and there are another 5,000 from NATO allies.  They mainly serve in an advisory capacity.

The blast was the latest in a long line of attacks in Kabul. The province surrounding the capital had the highest number of casualties in the first three months of 2017 due to multiple attacks in the city, with civilians bearing the brunt of the violence.