KABUL: A suicide blast in a mainly Shia area of killed at least 48 people on Wednesday, the latest in a wave of attacks that have killed hundreds of civilians, soldiers and policemen over recent days.

The explosion, targeting an educational centre, tore through a large tent set up as a classroom in the courtyard, killing dozens of teenagers studying for a university entrance examination. The blast, which shattered weeks of relative calm in Kabul, also wounded at least 67, including both male and female students.

“Most of the boys at the educational centre have been killed,” said Sayed Ali, who witnessed the blast. “It was horrific and many of the students were torn to pieces.”

Doctors at city hospitals, where people had gathered to try to find relatives who had been studying at the centre, said many of the victims were severely burned. “My brother was studying at the centre and he was killed. I’m here to get his body,” said Abdul Khaliq, waiting outside the Isteqlal hospital.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the Kabul blast but the attack bore the hallmark of Islamic State, which has conducted many previous attacks on Shia targets. The denied that it was involved.

The explosion, which came as the central city of Ghazni struggles to recover from five days of intense fighting between the Taliban and government forces, underlined how badly security in has degenerated, some two months before parliamentary elections scheduled for October.

Earlier on Wednesday, local officials said at least nine policemen and 35 soldiers were killed in an attack on their base in the northern province of Baghlan, the latest of a series that has killed dozens of members of the security forces nationwide.

The Assistance Mission in Afghanistan called for the fighting to stop, saying up to 150 civilians are estimated to have been killed in Ghazni.
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