At least 16 people have been killed, mostly children, and dozens of others injured in a powerful explosion at a religious school in northern Afghanistan’s city of Aybak, the capital of Samangan province.
A doctor in Aybak, about 200 kilometers (130 miles) north of the capital Kabul, told AFP that most of the dead and wounded were children and ordinary people.
A provincial official also confirmed the explosion at al-Jahad school, but did not provide accurate statistics on the number of casualties.
“A blast took place around 12:45 pm inside Jahad Madrasa in the center of the city. Lots of boys are studying at this madrasa [religious school],” said provincial spokesman Emdadullah Muhajir.
The Taliban say 10 students were killed and "many others" were wounded. Local officials said the blast was carried out during the afternoon prayer.
Abdul Nafay Takor, the spokesman of the Afghan Interior Ministry, wrote in a tweet that security authorities were investigating the various aspects of the incident and working to identify the perpetrators.
“Our detective and security forces are working quickly to identify the perpetrators of this unforgivable crime and punish them for their actions.”
Since the Taliban returned to power in August 2021, deadly explosions have continued. Civilians have been targeted. The Daesh Takfiri terrorist group has claimed responsibility for most of the acts of terror.
In September, at least 54 people, including 51 young women and girls, were killed in a bombing at a hall in Kabul where students were taking a science test for university entrance. No group claimed responsibility for the bombing, but the Taliban later blamed Daesh and said it had killed several key figures linked to the blast.
In May 2021, at least 85 people, most of whom girls, were killed and about 300 others injured in three bomb blasts near their school.