At least 19 people have been killed and 27 others wounded after an explosion at an education centre in Afghanistan.
Taliban officials say a suicide bomber struck a Shiite area of the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Friday morning.
The explosion occurred inside a centre in the Dashti Barchi neighbourhood, according to a Taliban-appointed spokesman for the Kabul police chief.
The victims were mostly male and female school students, who were taking a practice university entrance exam when the blast went off, the official added.
The private facility is known as the Kaaj Higher Educational Center and helps students prepare and study for college entrance exams.
Education centres in the area will now need to ask the Taliban for additional security when they host events, officials say.
No one has immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
The blast is the latest attack against Afghanistan’s minority Shiite Muslim community since the Taliban seized power in August 2021.
The so-called Islamic State (IS) group — the chief rival of the Taliban — has previously targeted the Hazara community, who are mostly Shiite Muslims, in Dashti Barchi.
The US chargé d’affaires for Afghanistan, Karen Decker, condemned the attack on the Kaaj education centre.
“Targeting a room full of students taking exams is shameful; all students should be able to pursue an education in peace and without fear,” she wrote on Twitter. “We hope for a swift recovery for the victims and we grieve with the families of the deceased.”
The United Nations children’s fund (UNICEF) said it was appalled by Friday’s attack, adding that violence in or around educational establishments was never acceptable.
“This heinous act claimed the lives of dozens of adolescent girls and boys and severely injured many more,” UNICEF tweeted.
“Children and adolescents are not, and must never be, the target of violence.”