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Bombing Kills 15 Students at Religious School in Northern Afghanistan

Map showing the location of Aybak, Afghanistan.
Map showing the location of Aybak, Afghanistan.

Taliban authorities in Afghanistan said Wednesday that at least 15 students were killed and 27 others wounded when a bomb ripped through a religious school, or madras, in northern Samangan province.

Imdadullah Mahajer, the head of provincial information and culture directorate, confirmed the casualties to VOA by phone. He did not share further details nor did he say if a planted bomb or a suicide attack caused the blast.

Abdul Nafi Takoor, an Interior Ministry spokesman in Kabul, said the bombing in the provincial capital, Aybak, occurred while students were holding afternoon prayers. Takoor said Taliban security and intelligence forces had reached the site to investigate and bring the perpetrators to justice.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the deadly bombing, although suspicions fell on Islamic State Khorasan Province or ISIS-K, the Afghan branch of the Islamic State militant group.

ISIS-K has stepped up attacks since August 2021, when the Taliban took over the conflict-ridden country and the United States, along with NATO allies, withdrew troops from Afghanistan after nearly 20 years of war with the then-insurgent Taliban.