Multiple blasts targeted a school in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Saturday, killing at least 40 people and wounding dozens more, mostly students, a senior Interior Ministry official said.
The official told Reuters on condition of anonymity that most of the casualties were students coming out of the Sayed ul Shuhada school.
A spokesperson for the ministry, Tariq Arian, said at least 25 people died. He did not specify the cause or the target.
Ghulam Dastagir Nazari, spokesperson for the Health Ministry, said 46 people had been taken to hospitals so far.
Kabul has been on high alert since Washington announced plans last month to pull out all U.S. troops by Sept. 11, with Afghan officials saying the Taliban have stepped up attacks across the country.
No group has claimed responsibility for Saturday’s attack. Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid denied the insurgent group’s involvement and condemned the incident.
The explosions took place in the western part of Kabul, a heavily Shia Muslim neighbourhood that has frequently been attacked by ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) militants over the years.
The school is a joint high school for girls and boys who study in three shifts, the second of which is for female students, Najiba Arian, spokesperson for the Ministry of Education, told Reuters.
The wounded are mostly female students, she said.
“The horrendous attack in Dasht-i Barchi area in Kabul is a despicable act of terrorism,” the European Union’s mission in Afghanistan said on Twitter.
“Targeting primarily students in a girls’ school makes this an attack on the future of Afghanistan.”