KABUL, Afghanistan — Tayyeb, a 22-year-old bank employee, had just arrived at work Wednesday, a typically busy morning in central Kabul's diplomatic quarter, where rush-hour commuters inched along streets that house foreign embassies, commercial buildings and the presidential palace.
Suddenly a heavy explosion shook the neighborhood, shattering windows as far as a mile away. Inside the bank, the rooms went dark and shards of glass hit Tayyeb in the head.
"We couldn't find anyone or anything," said Tayyeb, who like many Afghans has only one name. "After maybe a minute we could see some of our colleagues had been injured because of broken glass."
Colleagues brought the victims to a nearby hospital run by an Italian medical charity. Across the city, the Afghan health ministry said, at least 80 people were killed and more than 350 injured in the blast, one of the worst to strike Kabul since the 2001 U.S.-led military invasion and a bloody reminder that Afghans continue to suffer in militant violence far from the international spotlight.
The Afghan government's media center later on Wednesday raised the death toll to 90 killed and 400 wounded, quoting a statement from the Afghan Ulema Council, the country's top religious body.
One witness said the explosion _ which occurred on the fifth day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan _ was caused by a bomb planted in a large tanker truck that left a crater in the road more than 30 feet deep.
Afghan interior ministry spokesman Najib Danesh said the blast occurred in Zanbaq Square, which is close to the German Embassy and the headquarters of Roshan, the country's leading telecommunications company. Danesh said officials had not determined the target of the attack.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the blast. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed in a statement that his group had no part in the attack.
Speculation immediately fell on militants loyal to the Islamic State, which had claimed responsibility for the deadliest recent attack in Kabul _ the bombing of a protest by ethnic Hazaras last July that killed more than 80 people.
"This was the heaviest blast I have ever witnessed in Kabul," said Daud, a 36-year-old shopkeeper in the Shahr-e-Naw district about a mile away.
The German Embassy was heavily damaged in the attack, with several staff members injured and an Afghan security guard killed, according to a statement from German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel. All embassy staff members were safe, Gabriel said.
The BBC said that one of its staff members, a driver named Mohammed Nazir who was ferrying colleagues to the news organization's office, was killed and that four journalists were injured. BBC World Service Director Francesca Unsworth called it "a devastating loss."
The blast also caused damage at Amani High School, a large, elite school supported by the German government that sits behind the German embassy.
"Many students in 12th grade were injured. Everyone was crying and running in panic," Haseeb, a 15-year-old student, said as he was being walked to safety with fellow students.
Many of the victims were brought to the Italian-run hospital, Emergency, which attends to war victims. A crowd gathered outside, many waiting on news of loved ones being treated.
"We have lost him, we have lost him!" one man screamed in desperation. He was speaking of a colleague who had been traveling in a taxi and was seriously injured in the blast.
Atiqullah, 24, was standing outside his restaurant in front of the hospital when the explosion happened.
"I think I saw more than 200 injured people being brought to Emergency," he said as he picked up pieces of broken glass outside his restaurant.
A teenage boy, Rizwan, who was on his way to an Islamic school for Quran recitals, had blood stains on his shirt and a bandage on his ear, the result of broken glass from a shop window.
"It was a very heavy explosion," he said. "We didn't know which way to go."
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani called an emergency meeting of senior officials and tweeted that he "strongly condemns the cowardly attack in the holy month of Ramadan targeting innocent civilians in their daily life."
Mirwais Yasini, a lawmaker from the eastern province of Nangarhar who visited the blast site, blamed Ghani's government, wondering how such a large car bomb could have penetrated the city center, which is lined with checkpoints manned by Afghan security forces.
Yasini cited a series of recent deadly attacks, including against a military hospital in Kabul in March and on an army base in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif that killed more than 100 soldiers last month.
"This is a complete disaster of the government," Yasini said. "Ghani is not doing his job. He has completely failed and he should resign."