By Abdul Qadir Sediqi and Orooj Hakimi
KABUL (Reuters) – A suicide bombing at an education centre in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul killed at least 18 people and wounded dozens more on Saturday, officials said.
A Ministry of Interior spokesman, Tariq Arian, cited security guards as identifying a bomber who detonated explosives in the street outside the Kawsar-e Danish educational centre.
Eighteen people were killed and 57 were injured in the attack, according to the interior ministry.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for the bombing, the group said in a statement on Telegram, without providing evidence.
A Taliban spokesman on Twitter denied responsibility for the attack, which comes at a sensitive time as teams representing the insurgents and the government meet in Qatar to seek a peace deal.
The attack took place in an area of west Kabul that is home to many from the country’s Shia community, a religious minority in Afghanistan targeted by groups such as Islamic State in the past.
Dozens of students died in the same area of Kabul in an attack on another education centre in 2018, while in May gunmen attacked a maternity ward, killing 24, including mothers and babies.
The latest attack comes on the back of heavy fighting in multiple provinces in recent weeks, which has displaced thousands of civilians in southern Helmand province.
“How much more can we endure, as individuals and as society? How many times can we rise?” asked Shaharzad Akbar, the chairperson of Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission on Twitter, saying the targeting of civilians was a war crime.
(Reporting by Abdul Qadir Sediqi; Additional reporting by Orooj Hakimi; Writing by Gibran Peshimam and Charlotte Greenfield; Editing by Mark Heinrich, Andrew Cawthorne and James Drummond)