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Children among at least 40 killed in Afghanistan school bomb attack
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At least 40 people – most believed to be female students – have been killed in a bomb attack on a school in west Kabul, according to Afghan government officials.

At least 50 are also reported to have been injured by the blast, which happened in the Shia-majority neighbourhood of Dasht-i-Barchi.

No group has yet claimed responsibility.

Most of the casualties are believed to be female students between 11 and 15 years old, who were leaving school at the time of the attack.

The school operates three shifts, the second of which is for girls, said education ministry spokeswoman Najiba Arian.

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"The horrendous attack in Dasht-i Barchi area in Kabul, is an despicable act of terrorism," the EU mission in
Afghanistan said on Twitter.

"Targeting primarily students in a girls' school, makes this an attack on the future of Afghanistan."

More on Afghanistan

Social media images purported to show blood-stained backpacks and books on the street in front of the Syed Al-Shahda school.

Angry crowds attacked ambulances and workers trying to evacuate the wounded, said health ministry spokesman Ghulam Dastigar Nazari.

At the Muhammad Ali Jinnah Hospital, dozens lined up to donate blood as family members checked casualty lists on the walls and victims were rushed into surgery.

Image: Doctors treat one of the injured girls. Pic: AP

Associated Press journalists reported seeing at least 20 dead bodies in hallways and rooms in the hospital

The Afghan capital is on high alert since the US said last month that it would start withdrawing its remaining 2,500 to 3,500 troops – with the pull-out complete by 11 September.

Officials say the Taliban has increased its attacks recently, and Afghan president Ashraf Ghani blamed the group for the school attack.

However, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid denied involvement and condemned the incident.

He said only the Islamic State group could be behind such an atrocity.

IS previously claimed attacks against Shias in the same area last year, including two on education facilities that killed 50 people.

The US and Taliban signed a deal last year to end the 20-year war – which began after Osama bin Laden was sheltered by the Taliban government.

America agreed to pull out in exchange for Taliban security guarantees and the start of peace talks between the group and the Afghan government.

The talks began, but stalled last year and attacks on government forces continue.

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