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Page last updated at 13:59 GMT, Monday, 7 July 2008 14:59 UK

Eyewitness: Afghan bombing

Correspondents and eyewitnesses have spoken of the aftermath of a deadly explosion at India's embassy in Kabul, which has killed dozens of people and left many more seriously injured.

Man carrying an injured victim away from the Indian embassy, Kabul, Afghanistan, 7 July 2008
Passers-by were needed to help carry the injured to hospital
Witnesses told of body parts hanging from trees and of feverish efforts to help badly injured victims at a key hospital in the Afghan capital.

The BBC's Martin Patience, reporting from the scene of the attack, said Afghan and international forces had "swarmed" around the blast site in the immediate aftermath of the explosion.

Blue and white tickertape and armed security personnel were keeping curious onlookers about 200 metres away from the Indian embassy, our correspondent reported.

Workers wearing orange boiler suits swept rubble off the road, while others picked through the wreckage of a collapsed wall, he added. Cranes also lifted the remains of cars onto trucks to be taken away.

'Burnt bodies'

At Kabul's hospitals, reports of a major explosion prompted a feverish effort to cope with the influx of dead and injured, with support and administrative staff helping doctors and nurses deal with the casualties.

I am an IT manager. But if you see people lying on the ground in pain it's hard not to help
Shaker Hamdad
At Wazir Akbar Khan hospital, IT manager Shaker Hamdad left his desk to help carry in the wounded, while nurses carried away those for whom help came too late.

"Today I saw four bodies come in, completely burnt," Mr Hamdad told the BBC.

"They were completely black, like tar, and the nurses took them straight to the morgue. Four others I saw had very serious injuries and were being treated.

"Today was a really difficult day, one of the most shocking days we have had here.

"I can't help medically but when these things happen we all try to help in some way - we get people into the emergency room, we rush to find doctors, anything really. Everybody gets involved, we have to.

"I took a job as an interpreter, then became IT manager. But if you see people lying on the ground in pain it's hard not to help."

'Quite normal'

One Afghan woman who works with an international organisation in Kabul said she could not understand why the bombers had targeted crowds outside the Indian embassy.

Many Afghans queue there for visas to take sick relatives and friends for medical treatment in India, Heela Barakzai told the BBC.

"It's really sad. I can't really find the words to explain it, because the number [of dead] is rising time by time and it's all those innocent people who were there to get visas, to get out of the country - to take their patients for treatment, or for business work," she said.

"I don't know why they were targeted, and for what. They are not linked to international troops, so I really don't know why they targeted them."

Saska Galic, a Croatian who has lived and worked in Kabul for five years, saw the explosion from his house just a few hundred metres away.

"This is quite normal in Kabul now," he told the BBC.

"You never know who is walking in front of you in the street, or who is behind you. It's very dangerous."

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