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Suicide bomber strikes

A suicide bomber struck a private education centre in a Shiite neighbourhood of Kabul on Wednesday where high school graduates were preparing for university entrance exams, killing 48 young men and women and leaving behind a scene of devastation and tragedy.

The bombing, blamed on the Islamic State group, was the latest assault on Afghanistan's Shiite community, which has increasingly been targeted by Sunni extremists who consider Shiites to be heretics.

It also showed how militants are still able to stage large-scale attacks, even in the heart of Kabul, and underscored the struggles of the Afghan forces to provide security and stability on their own.

The attack comes amid a particularly bloody week in Afghanistan that has seen Taliban attacks kill scores of Afghan troops and civilians.

It was not immediately clear how the bomber managed to sneak into the building, used by the Shiite community as an education centre, in the Dasht-i Barcha area of Kabul.

The spokesman for the public health ministry, Wahid Majroh, said 67 people were also wounded in the bombing and that the death toll — which steadily rose in the immediate aftermath of the bombing — could rise further. He did not say if all the victims were students and whether any of their teachers were also among the casualties.

Dawlat Hossain, father of 18-year-old student Fareba who had left her class just a few minutes before the bombing but was still inside the compound, was on his way to meet his daughter and started running when he heard the explosion.

Hossain recounted to The Associated Press how when he entered Fareba's classroom, he saw parts of human bodies all over student desks and benches.

"There was blood everywhere, all over the room, so scary and horrible," he said. After finding out that his daughter was safe, he helped move the wounded to hospitals.



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