At least 48 people were killed when a blast at an education center rocked a minority Shiite area of western Kabul Wednesday, officials said, in the latest suspected attack in Afghanistan’s war-weary capital.
“We can confirm the attack was caused by a suicide bomber on foot. The bomber detonated himself inside the education center,” police spokesperson Hashmat Stanikzai said.
Health ministry spokesperson Wahidullah Majrooh said 48 people were killed and 67 others wounded, but warned the death toll could rise.
The explosion happened Wednesday afternoon inside an education center in the Dasht-e-Barchi district. Photos posted on social media showed a number of injured students and significant damage to a classroom.
Officials said most of the dead were students and teachers.
Afghanistan has been reeling from a recent upsurge in militant violence, including a massive, days-long Taliban onslaught on the eastern city of Ghazni.
The assault on Ghazni was a military and psychological victory against the government in Kabul, proving the insurgents have the strength to strike a strategically vital city near the capital at will and remain entrenched there for days.
At least 100 security forces were killed in the fight for Ghazni, officials have said, with unconfirmed fears that at least as many civilians died.
The Taliban has denied involvement in the Kabul bombing, Pajhwok Afghan News reported.
Afghan security forces, beset by killings, desertions and low morale, have taken staggering losses since U.S.-led NATO combat forces pulled out at the end of 2014.
But it is ordinary Afghans who have taken the brunt of the violence in the grinding conflict, especially in Kabul, which the United Nations has said is the deadliest place for civilians in the country.
Militant attacks and suicide bombs were the leading causes of civilian deaths in the first half of 2018, a recent U.N. report showed.
With reporting from AFP