At least 19 people have been killed and several others injured in a suicide attack at a tuition center in Afghanistan's Kabul on Friday.
A BBC report said the blast ripped the Kaaj education centre in the Dasht-e-Barchi area located in the western part of Kabul city. The attack has left 27 people injured, officials have said. "Attacking civilian targets proves the enemy's inhuman cruelty and lack of moral standards," Kabul police spokesperson Khalid Zadran was quoted as saying by Reuters, adding that the attack took place at the private tutoring centre where the students were giving an exam.
Here are the latest updates on the attack:
Who were attacked?
While the reports said 19 people were killed, Reuters quoted hospital sources saying the toll was 23. The casualties include female students as well, the Taliban has said.
The suicide attack happened in the part of the city where people mostly from the Hazara community live. Hazara is a minority ethnic group in Afghanistan, which has faced targeted attacks in the past as well.
Journalist Tajuden Soroush wrote on Twitter that most of the casualties included teenagers.
Zaki Daryabi, an Afghan journalist, posted pictures of the attack and said that no medical aid was available. He said that locals carried the injured to hospitals on their shoulders.
Who is behind the attack?
While no no organisation has yet taken responsibility for the attack, the Afghanistan's Taliban-led interior ministry has sent teams to the location.
"Our teams have dispatched at the site of the blast to find out more details," AP quoted Abdul Nafi Takor, a Taliban-appointed spokesman for the Interior Ministry as saying.
The US Charge d'Affairs Karen Decker termed the attack as shameful and said that the US condemns the attack. "The U.S. strongly condemns today's attack on the Kaaj Higher Educational Center. Targeting a room full of students taking exams is shameful; all students should be able to pursue an education in peace & without fear," she wrote on Twitter.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) also condemned the attack in Kabul. "The UN family condemns the outrage, extending its deep condolences to all those in mourning," the group tweeted.
The Hazara Shiite community has been targeted by the Islamic State group (IS) and the Taliban many times in the past.
Amnesty International published a report in August 2022 which said that a series of attacks on the Hazara Shiites caused 120 deaths recently. The report hinted that there was a rise in the attacks since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in August 2021.
The report quoted that on August 5 and 6 alone, 16 people were killed and dozens others were left injured in two separate attacks in Kabul. "After the Taliban takeover, such minority communities have no effective representation within the Taliban's security or governance structure," Amnesty noted in its report.
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