A suicide bomb attack at an educational institute in Kabul killed at least 19 people and wounded dozens, police said on Friday. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
The explosion took place inside the Kaaj Higher Educational Center in a Shiite area in the Dashti Barchi neighborhood in the Afghan capital.
It took place in the morning hours, police spokesperson Khalid Zadran said. He did not have further details in the immediate aftermath of the bombing.
Zadran said education centers in the area will need to ask the Taliban for additional security when they host events with a large number of people.
"Attacking civilian targets proves the enemy's inhuman cruelty and lack of moral standards," he said.
Who were among the victims
The victims included male and female high school graduates taking a practice university entrance exam when the blast went off. The center helps students prepare and study for college entrance exams, among other activities.
"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," Ghulm Sadiq, a local resident who went out to the site on hearing a noise told Reuters agency.
Hospitals in the area were attending to those injured, and posting lists of those who had been confirmed dead.
At at least one hospital, the Taliban forced families of victims to leave the site, due to concerns of a follow-up attack.
Videos being circulated online and photos published by local media showed bloodied victims being carried away from the scene.
"Security teams have reached the site, the nature of the attack and the details of the casualties will be released later," Abdul Nafy Takor, the interior ministry's spokesman, had tweeted earlier.
The suicide bombing was the latest in a steady stream of violence since the Taliban seized power.
"This was clearly a very specific targeted attack to make the most amount of civilian damage to people in one of the most vulnerable communities. They also have an effect on the mental state of the people." Kabul-based journalist Ali Latifi told DW.
Afghanistan's Shiite Hazaras have faced persecution for years. The Taliban and Islamic State have also been responsible for attacks on the community.
tg/sms (AFP, AP, Reuters)