Authorities in Afghanistan say a suicide bomber who blew himself up outside a private Kabul education facility has killed at least 18 people and more than 57 others.
Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said a man with explosives strapped to his body tried to storm the packed facility late Saturday but was intercepted by security guards and instead set off his explosives outside. Arian expected the casualty toll to increase.
Islamic State terror group said its local IS Khorasan Province (ISKP) branch plotted the attack.
ISKP has routinely carried out bombings at Shi’ite gatherings and places of worship in Kabul and elsewhere in Afghanistan.
The Taliban insurgent group denied its involvement in the violence.
Saturday’s attack came after a roadside bomb hit a minivan in the central-eastern Afghan province of Ghazni earlier in the day. The ensuing blast killed at least nine passengers and injured several others. Women were among the victims, a provincial government spokesman told VOA.
The uptick in Afghan violence comes as a month-long peace dialogue between the Kabul government and representatives of the Taliban in Qatar faces a stalemate over procedural matters.
The U.S.-brokered peace talks, which started on September 12, had raised hopes of a reduction in violence in Afghanistan. But hostilities have since intensified, inflicting dozens of casualties daily on combatants on the Afghan warring sides and civilians.
The Afghan Air Force earlier in the week carried out an anti-Taliban airstrike in northeastern Takhar province that struck a mosque school. The strike killed at least 12 children and injured 18 others.