Afghanistan, KABUL: At least 55 people, mostly young schoolgirls, have been killed and dozens more injured after a bomb exploded near a girls’ school west of the capital Kabul, Afghan officials say.
The bomb that struck an area populated largely by the Shiite Hazara community killed many female students between 11 and 15 years old.
TV footage showed chaotic scenes outside the school, with books and school bags strewn across a bloodstained road, and residents rushing to help victims.
The Taliban condemned the attack and denied any responsibility, instead blaming the Islamic State group.
The explosion rocked the west Kabul district of Dasht-e-Barchi — a regular target of Sunni Islamist militants — as residents were out shopping ahead of Eid-al-Fitr next week that marks the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting.
It comes as the United States military continues to pull out its last remaining 2,500 troops from violence-wracked Afghanistan, despite faltering peace efforts between the Taliban and Afghan government to end a decades-long war.
Interior ministry deputy spokesperson Hamid Roshan said an investigation had begun into the explosion.