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At least 18 dead after suicide bomber targets Kabul educational centre

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At least 18 people were killed in a suicide bombing outside an educational centre in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on Saturday, the Ministry of Interior Affairs said.

A further 57 were wounded in the attack that took place in the west of the city, ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said, adding that the casualty figures could still rise.

The bomber had tried to enter the centre but blew himself as he was approached by security guards, the ministry said.

The incident led to anger and widespread condemnation in Afghanistan and beyond.

The presidential palace said in a statement that the Taliban should agree to a ceasefire.

NATO’s civilian representative in Afghanistan, Stefano Pontecorvo responded by saying, “the taking of young innocent lives is never acceptable.”

From Islamabad, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry extended sympathies and condolences to those affected, saying the country “condemns in the strongest possible terms the inhuman terrorist attack outside an educational center in Dasht-e-Barchi area of Kabul city today.”

Pakistan “condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and will continue to support a peaceful and stable Afghanistan,” the statement said.

No group has yet claimed responsibility and the Taliban has denied any involvement.

The explosion occurred in a mainly Shiite Hazara-dominated area of Kabul.

Islamic State militants have repeatedly targeted educational centres, where the majority of the students were members of the Shiite Hazara minority.

The last such attack was an Islamic State-claimed suicide bombing on an educational centre known as Mahdi-e Mawood in the same area. The blast killed 48 people.

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