A suicide bomber has targeted students preparing for university exams in a predominantly Shi’ite neighborhood in the Afghan capital, Kabul, killing at least 48 people and wounding 67 others, official say.
Most of the victims were young men and women -- high school graduates -- studying together at a private education center in the Dasht-e Barcha area.
"The wounded have been transferred to nearby hospitals, where they are receiving medical assistance," Health Ministry spokesman Wahid Majroh told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan on August 15.
"The casualty figures are not yet complete, so it's possible that there will be some changes in the final casualty toll," he added.
Police said the suicide bomber walked into the building while teaching was under way and detonated his bomb belt.
The Taliban denied involvement in the attack, which came after several weeks of relative calm in Kabul.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, but Jawad Ghawari, a member of the city's Shi’ite clerical council, blamed the extremist Islamic State group, which has carried similar attacks in the past, hitting Shi'ite mosques, schools, and cultural centers.
Ghawari said there were at least 13 attacks on the Shi’ite community in the past two years in Kabul alone.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) condemned the attack, saying in a tweet there was "no justification whatsoever for targeting civilians, at any time, under any circumstances."
Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, dpa, and RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan