At least nine killed in Kabul blast

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In this photo taken on August 13, 2018 Afghan passengers bound to Kabul wait at a bus station in Kandahar province as the Kabul-Kandahar bus services stopped following a Taliban assault in the city of Ghazni. A major Taliban assault on Ghazni has triggered five days of fighting with Afghan security forces, with reports of scores dead, bodies littering the streets and the strategic stronghold left a “ghost city”. / AFP PHOTO / Jawed Tanveer

At least nine people were killed when a blast at an education centre rocked a minority Shiite area of western Kabul Wednesday, officials said, in the latest suspected attack in Afghanistan’s war-weary capital.

“There are casualties, unfortunately. The nature of the explosion is not known yet,” police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai said.

The spokesmen for the health and interior ministries both said that at least nine people were killed and 11 others wounded.

Afghanistan has been reeling from a recent upsurge in militant violence, including a massive, days-long Taliban onslaught on the eastern city of Ghazni.

The assault on Ghazni was a military and psychological victory against the government in Kabul, proving the insurgents have the strength to strike a strategically vital city near the capital at will and remain entrenched there for days.

At least 100 security forces were killed in the fight for Ghazni, officials have said, with unconfirmed fears that at least as many civilians died.

Afghan security forces, beset by killings, desertions and low morale, have taken staggering losses since US-led NATO combat forces pulled out at the end of 2014.

But it is ordinary Afghans who have taken the brunt of the violence in the grinding conflict, especially in Kabul, which the United Nations has said is the deadliest place for civilians in the country.

Militant attacks and suicide bombs were the leading causes of civilian deaths in the first half of 2018, a recent UN report showed.