48 dead in suicide bombing in Kabul

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Al Jazeera reports that at least 48 people have been killed in a suicide bomb attack in front of an educational centre in the west of the Afghan capital, Kabul, according to the health ministry.

Wednesday’s attack in the Shia neighbourhood of Dasht-e-Barchi left dozens more injured, Waheed Majrooh, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s ministry of public health, told Al Jazeera.

The explosion initially set off gunfire from Afghan guards in the area, leading to assumptions that there were more attackers involved, but officials later said all indications were that there was only one bomber.

“We can confirm the attack was caused by a suicide bomber on foot. The bomber detonated himself inside the education centre,” said Hashmat Stanikzai, police spokesman.

Abdul Hossain Hossainzada, a Shia community leader in the neighbourhood in western Kabul, said the bomber apparently targeted the course, which had young men and women studying together.

BBC reports that the Taliban says it will no longer allow safe passage to Red Cross staff working in Afghanistan. The militants accuse the neutral humanitarian agency of failing to meet its obligations to help Taliban prisoners in a jail in Kabul. The ICRC monitors detention conditions and provides medical aid. It scaled down its presence in Afghanistan last year after seven staff were killed.

The group told the BBC it was concerned by the Taliban’s move.

Separately on Thursday, a blast in a Shia Muslim area in western Kabul killed at least 25 people, the health ministry told the BBC. The Taliban denied it was responsible for the latest attack targeting civilians in the Afghan capital.

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