A series of explosions followed by a suicide blast at a gathering inside a Shiite cultural center killed at least 40 people and wounded dozens more in the capital Kabul Thursday. Nasrat Rahimi, deputy spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said women and students were among the casualties of the attack, in which a suicide bomber wearing a vest targeted a cultural center in western Kabul.
Thursday’s attack targeted a gathering of students and others who were attending an academic discussion about the Soviet invasion, which began on Christmas Eve in 1979, as well as an anniversary ceremony. The toll from the blast could increase.
After explosion inside cultural center in Kabul
One government official put the number of those killed to more than 50, adding 100 were wounded. Two explosions were heard. Most of the victims were either educated young people or children who took religious classes at the cultural center, family members of the victims said. The Taliban immediately said the group, which leads the insurgency against the Afghan government and foreign troops, was not behind the incident. Suspicion fell on the Islamic State. President Ashraf Ghani’s embattled government has recently stepped up security measures for Shiite mosques by providing guns and funds for the community’s protection. The presidential palace said in a statement that Thursday’s attack was a “crime against humanity” and an “unforgivable act.”