A huge suicide bomb ripped through a secure area of Kabul at the height of this morning rush hour, killing at least 80 people and wounding more than 300, Afghan officials said.

The blast, which came a few days into the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, was one of the deadliest to hit the Afghan capital in recent years.

The bomb exploded in the diplomatic quarter near the German Embassy and the Afghan presidential palace.

The streets were packed with commuters, women shopping and children going to school and the blast appears likely to result in a high civilian death toll.

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