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Nearly 20 killed, dozens injured in bomb blast in Afghan capital

An attack at an education institute in the Afghan capital Kabul kills at least 19 people. (EPA)

Nearly 20 people have been killed and dozens of others wounded as a bomb blast ripped through an education center in the Afghan capital Kabul on Friday.

The explosion hit Kaj Education Centre in Dasht-e-Barchi, a mainly Hazara neighborhood west of the Afghan capital.

The Hazara are an ethnic minority targeted in past attacks launched by the Daesh terrorist group, among others. It was confirmed by city police and the interior ministry.

The exact numbers of victims have not been released. According to Interior ministry spokesperson Abdul Nafy Takor, security teams have been dispatched to the scene to investigate the incident.

A mock entrance exam was reportedly taking place at the time of the attack. Several men attacked the center, local media reported, with one reportedly detonating a suicide belt inside a classroom.

The attack, which was has not been claimed by any side so far, is the latest in a continuous stream of violence since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan just over a year ago.

Kabul police spokesperson, Khalid Zadran said the attack, which took place at a private tutoring center where the exam was taking place proves “the enemy’s inhuman cruelty and lack of moral standards.”

The spokesperson said the death toll is likely to rise.

Moreover, sources quoted a doctor from Ali Jinah Hospital as saying that 23 people have been killed and more than 36 injured.

A Taliban source said the number of people killed amounted to 33 people among which are female students.

According to an eyewitness, Taiba Mehtarkhil, many the casualties were young women. She told CNN she had gone to the center to look for her friend after she heard news of the attack and was confronted with scenes of chaos and despair

“I saw parents, other members of the families of the Kaaj students, screaming and running up and down,” she said.

“Some were trying to get emergency medical attention to their loved ones and some others were looking for their sons and daughters. I saw around 20 killed and many more wounded with my own eyes.”

A local resident, Ghulm Sadiq, said he was at home when he heard a loud sound and went outside to see smoke rising from the center.

"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," Sadiq said.

‘A big crime’

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid condemned the attack in a tweet Friday.

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan calls the attack on Kaj training center in the 13th district of Kabul a big crime, strongly condemns it, and expresses deepest sympathy to the families of the victims of this incident.”

Meanwhile, UNICEF tweeted on Friday, saying that ,“Violence in or around education establishments is never acceptable. Such places must be havens of peace where children can learn, be with friends, and feel safe as they build skills for their futures. Children and adolescents are not, and must never be, the target of violence.”

The Daesh terrorist group, — a top rival of the Taliban — has previously targeted mosques and worshippers in terrorist attacks.

Dozens of people have lost their lives in a series of terrorist attacks across the country over the past few weeks.

On September 23, at least seven people were killed and 41 others injured in a blast in the capital city, just weeks after a series of bombings in the war-torn country.

The explosion happened near a mosque in Wazir Akbar Khan district in central Kabul as people were streaming out from Friday prayers.

The blast came on the heels of another deadly explosion in a mosque in the northern city of Kunduz weeks ago, which killed at least 33 Afghan people, including children, and wounded 43 others.

Also, in another blast outside a mosque in Afghanistan in early September, a high-profile pro-Taliban cleric and 17 other civilians were killed.

The Taliban, who had previously ruled the country from 1996 to 2001, took power again on August 15 last year amid a chaotic US troop withdrawal from the war-torn country.

Since then, the country has been the scene of recurrent attacks, some of which have been claimed by the Daesh terrorist group.

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