At least 18 dead in suicide bomb attack in Kabul | World news

At least 18 people have been killed and 57 wounded, including schoolchildren, in a suicide bomb attack outside an education centre in Kabul, the Afghan interior ministry said.

The explosion struck outside an education centre in a heavily Shia neighbourhood of western Kabul, Dasht-e-Barchi.

The interior ministry spokesman, Tariq Arian, said the attacker was trying to enter the centre when he was stopped by security guards.

He said the casualty toll may rise further as family members of the victims are still searching the hospitals where the wounded have been taken.

No group claimed immediate responsibility for the bombing. The Taliban rejected any connection with the attack.

An affiliate of the so-called Islamic State claimed responsibility for a similar suicide attack at an education centre in August 2018, in which 34 students were killed. Within Afghanistan, Isis has launched large-scale attacks on minority Shia, Sikhs and Hindus, whom it views as apostates.

Hundreds of Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan fled the country in September after a gunman loyal to the militant group killed 25 members of the shrinking community in an attack on a place of worship in Kabul.

The US signed a peace deal with the Taliban in February, opening up a path toward withdrawing American troops from the conflict. US officials said the deal would also help refocus security efforts on fighting Isis, which is a rival of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

There has been an upsurge in violence between Taliban and Afghan forces in the country recently, even as representatives from the two warring sides begin peace talks in Doha to end the decades-long war in the country.

Earlier on Saturday a roadside bomb killed nine people in eastern Afghanistan after it struck a minivan full of civilians, a local official said.

A Ghazni province police spokesman said a second roadside bomb killed two policemen, after it struck their vehicle that was making its way to the victims of the first explosion.

He added the bombings had wounded several others, and that the attacks were under investigation.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks. The provincial police spokesman claimed the Taliban had placed the bomb.

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