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At least 27 others were injured in the explosion at the Kabul education center in the Dasht-e-Barchi neighbourhood.
A suicide bomber attacked an educational institute in the Afghan capital, killing at least 19 people.
As many as 27 others were wounded in the blast early Friday, which occurred in the Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood of western Kabul, a predominantly Shia-Muslim area home to the minority Hazara communityaccording to police spokesperson Khalid Zadran.
“Students were preparing for an exam when a suicide bomber struck at this educational center. “Unfortunately, 19 people have been martyred and 27 others wounded,” he said.
Videos posted online and photos published by local media showed bloodied victims being carried away from the scene.
The victims included high school graduates, both girls and boys, who were taking a practical university entrance exam at the Kaj education center when the blast went off, Zadran said. Schools are typically closed in Afghanistan on Fridays.
“Attacking civilian targets proves the enemy’s inhuman cruelty and lack of moral standards,” he said, without specifying who was believed to be behind the attack.
No group immediately claimed responsibility.
“Security teams have reached the site, the nature of the attack and the details of the casualties will be released later,” interior ministry spokesman Abdul Nafy Takor tweeted.
“Attacking civilian targets proves the enemy’s inhuman cruelty and lack of moral standards.”
Local resident Ghulm Sadiq said he was at home when he heard a loud sound. He went outside to see smoke rising from the education center where he and neighbors rushed to help.
“My friends and I were able to move around 15 wounded and 9 dead bodies from the explosion site… other bodies were lying under chairs and tables inside the classroom,” he said.
Further details of the attack were not immediately available, although the official death toll was expected to rise.
Ethnic Hazara have alleged years of persecution by the ruling Taliban, which returned to power in the country following the withdrawal of US-led forces in August of 2021, and have been the victims of several attacks claimed by the rival ISIL (ISIS) group.
The Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood has witnessed some of the worst attacks in Afghanistan in recent years.
In 2021, prior to the Taliban takeover, at least 85 people – mostly female students – were killed and about 300 others wounded when three bombs exploded near their school in Dasht-e-Barchi.
No group claimed responsibility for that attack, but a year earlier, the ISIL claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on an educational center in the same area that killed 24, including students.
In April of this year, two deadly bomb blasts at separate education centers in the area killed six people and wounded 20 others.
Since taking control, the Taliban government has emphasized that they are securing the nation following decades of war, but a series of attacks on mosques and civilian areas in recent months has challenged that narrative.
Education also remains a flashpoint issue in Afghanistan with the Taliban blocking many girls from returning to secondary education. ISIL also stands against the education of women and girls.