UPDATE – Children among 40 people killed in bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan

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Multiple blasts at a school in the Afghan capital Kabul on Saturday killed at least 40 people and wounded dozens more, mostly female students, officials said, in an attack Afghan President Ashraf Ghani blamed on the insurgent Taliban.

A senior interior ministry official told Reuters on condition of anonymity that most of the casualties were students coming out of the Sayed ul Shuhada school. 

Footage on TV channel ToloNews showed chaotic scenes outside the school, with books and school bags strewn across a bloodstained road, and residents rushing to help victims.

At a nearby hospital, staff wheeled in injured students while dozens of distressed relatives searched desperately for their sons and daughters, according to a Reuters witness.

A spokesman for the interior ministry, Tariq Arian, put the death toll at least 30 and injured at 52 but did not specify the cause or the target.

Kabul is on high alert since Washington announced plans last month to pull out all U.S. troops by Sept. 11. with Afghan officials saying Taliban have stepped up their attacks across the country. 

No group has claimed responsibility for Saturday’s blast. 

It took place in western part of Kabul, a heavily Shi’ite Muslim neighbourhood that has frequently been attacked by Islamic State militants over the years. 

(Reporting by Kabul Bureau; editing by Jason Neely)