Officials say 95 killed, 158 wounded in Afghan car bombing

Damage on the exterior of the Intercontinental Hotel after a deadly attack in Kabul Afghanistan

The United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has strongly condemned the horrific attack in Kabul. "This murderous attack renews our resolve and that of our Afghan partners", he said.

In a joint statement, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and his foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong described the attack as "despicable and cowardly".

"While the Taliban claim suggested the objective of the attack was to target police, a massive vehicle bomb in a densely populated area could not reasonably be expected to leave civilians unharmed", Tadamichi Yamamoto said in a statement.

The arrests came as it emerged that as many as six children were killed in fighting near the central Afghan city of Ghazni on Friday.

The latest attack comes at a crucial moment in the 16-year Afghanistan war, Paton Walsh said.

The powerful explosion was felt throughout the capital and covered the blast area in smoke and dust. That attack prompted a major reinforcement of security aimed at preventing similar vehicle-borne assaults.

It was the second Taliban attack in a week on high-security targets in the city.

The government has also announced Monday as a holiday in Kabul to further help the affected people.

"Officials must be held responsible", said former deputy Interior Minister Mohammad Ayub Salangi.

Civilians were seen walking through debris-covered streets carrying wounded people 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.

Aminullah, whose stationery shop is a just metres from the site of the blast, said the force of the explosion shook the foundations of his building.

Witnesses reported that the blast shattered windows of surrounding buildings and caused some smaller buildings to collapse.

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