ISLAMABAD - A powerful suicide bomb explosion ripped through a packed classroom in Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, early Friday, killing at least 19 students and injuring 27 others.
Witnesses and police officials said the bombing occurred inside the Kaaj Education Center in the western Dash-e-Barchi area of the city, a predominantly Hazara Shiite neighborhood.
Female students were among the victims.
Khalid Zadran, a Kabul police spokesperson, confirmed the casualties to VOA and denounced the violence. He said that Taliban security forces had reached the area and an investigation is under way.
'Students were preparing for an entry exam when a suicide bomber struck the educational center. Unfortunately, 19 people have been martyred and 27 others wounded,' Zadran said.
No one immediately took responsibility for the bombing.
Social media videos and photos showed bloodied victims being carried away from the scene to nearby hospitals.
The local offshoot of the self-proclaimed, Sunni-based, Islamic State group, known as Islamic State Khorasan, or ISIS-K, has previously claimed credit for plotting such attacks in the area and elsewhere in Afghanistan.
ISIS-K has intensified its extremist activities in the country since the Taliban seized power in August of last year, when all U.S.-led foreign troops withdrew from Afghanistan after almost 20 years of war.