1146 GMT May 21, 2018
The Taliban-claimed assault – the second carried out by the militant group in the Afghan capital in a week – triggered chaotic scenes as terrified survivors fled the area scattered with body parts, blood and debris, and hospitals were overwhelmed by the large number of wounded, AFP wrote.
It came as both the insurgents and the Daesh terror group have escalated their attacks on Kabul, one of the deadliest places in Afghanistan for civilians.
An AFP reporter saw "lots of dead and wounded" civilians in the Jamuriate hospital, which is meters away from the blast and where medical staff struggled to treat the bloodied men, women and children lying on the floor in corridors.
Health Ministry spokesman Waheed Majroh said that the toll "now stands at 95 dead, 158 wounded", shortly after the Interior Ministry warned that an earlier death toll of 63 could rise.
The blast happened in an area where several high-profile organizations, including the European Union, have offices.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi condemned the attack and expressed sympathy with the Afghan government and people.
The force of the explosion shook windows of buildings at least two kilometers away and caused some low-rise structures in the immediate vicinity to collapse.
The suicide bomber passed through at least one checkpoint in the ambulance, saying he was taking a patient to Jamuriate hospital, an Interior Ministry spokesman said.
"At the second checkpoint he was recognized and blew his explosive-laden car," Nasrat Rahimi said.
Rahimi told a news conference that most of the victims were civilians. He said the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani Network was responsible and four suspects had been arrested.
The Taliban used social media to claim responsibility for the attack, which comes exactly a week after its insurgents stormed Kabul's landmark Intercontinental hotel, killing at least 25 people, the majority foreigners.
Photos shared on social media purportedly of the blast – the deadliest in Kabul since a truck bomb ripped through the city's diplomatic quarter on May 31, killing 150 people and wounding hundreds – showed a huge plume of smoke rising into the sky.
Near the blast site civilians walked through debris-covered streets carrying wounded on their backs as others loaded several bodies at a time into ambulances and private cars to take them to medical facilities around the city.
The attack was condemned by the presidential palace as a "crime against humanity".