A suicide attack at an education institute in the Afghan capital Kabul killed at least 19 people and wounded dozens, police said on Friday, but there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast.
Many of those living in the western area where the blast occurred are Hazara, an ethnic mostly Shia minority targeted in past attacks launched by the ultra-radical Islamic State and others.
Kabul police spokesperson Khalid Zadran said the official toll was 19 people dead and 27 wounded.
He said the attack took place at an education institute where an entrance exam was taking place. Schools are usually 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.
The official death toll is likely to rise. A hospital source said 23 people had been killed. A Taliban source said 33 people had been killed and that female students were among the casualties.
Ghulm Sadiq, a local resident, said he was at home when he heard a loud sound and went outside to see smoke rising from the education centre where he and neighbours 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.
Since taking over Afghanistan in August 2021, the Taliban have emphasised that they are securing the nation following decades of war, but in recent months there have been a series of blasts at mosques and civilian areas.
Teenage students were among the 24 people killed in a 2020 attack claimed by Islamic State at an education centre in west Kabul.