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Residents gather at a site following a suicide bomber blew himself up in an education centre in the Afghan capital, Kabul. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

At least 10 people have been killed and 20 wounded in a suicide bombing outside an education center in western Kabul, the Afghan interior ministry said on Saturday.

Driving the news: Tariq Arian, the interior ministry spokesperson, tweeted that the attacker was stopped by security guards before entering the Kawsar-e Danish education center. The attacker then detonated explosives in a nearby alley.

  • Other news organizations, including AP, Reuters and local Tolo news agency, citing officials, put the death toll at 18, with 54 wounded, including school children.

Details: Saturday's attack took place in an area that is home to many from Afghanistan's Shia community, a religious minority that has been targeted by ISIS in the past, per Reuters.

  • ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack on Telegram, but did not provide evidence, Reuters noted. The Taliban rejected any connection to the attack, per AP.
  • ISIS claimed responsibility for killing dozens of students in an attack on a different education center in the same area of Kabul in 2018, per AP.

The big picture: There has been an uptick in violence in Afghanistan in recent months despite the Taliban and Afghan forces holding peace talks in Qatar.

  • Earlier Saturday, a roadside bomb killed nine people in area east of Kabul. No group has claimed responsibility for that attack, AP reported.
  • The U.S. reached an agreement with the Taliban in February to begin a gradual drawdown of American troops from Afghanistan. U.S. troops began withdrawing from the country under the peace agreement the following month.

What they're saying: In a statement, the office of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani "vehemently" condemned Saturday's attacks, saying "that such acts of terror run counter to the Islamic values and principles of humanity."

Go deeper

Dec 30, 2020 - World

U.S. flies B-52 bombers over Persian Gulf as show of force against Iran

A file photo shows a B-52 bomber and two F-15 fighter jets flying over in New Orleans in May 2020. Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Two U.S. B-52 bombers flew a strategic mission over the Persian Gulf on Wednesday, the second mission of its kind this month, AP reports.

Why it matters: The flights are meant as a show of force to deter Iran from attacking American or allied targets in the Middle East amid signals that the country may be planning attacks against U.S. allied targets in neighboring Iraq or elsewhere in the region, per AP.

Ro Khanna accuses Biden of quitting Middle East

Rep. Ro Khanna. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile for Web Summit via Getty Images

An outspoken progressive Democrat is wary of President Biden’s approach to the Middle East, arguing it’s like “conceding defeat of the aspiration” to win a Nobel Peace Prize.

Why it matters: A number of members of Biden’s own party dislike his Middle East strategy, as his administration signals the region is no longer the priority it was for President Obama and his predecessors.

Democrats eye reconciliation for immigration

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Comprehensive immigration reform is a pipe dream, but some Senate Democrats are hoping to tie key immigration provisions to the next big reconciliation push.

Why it matters: Immigration is one of the most controversial and partisan issues in U.S. politics, which is why the budget reconciliation process — which allows for bills to pass the Senate with a simple majority rather than the usual 60 votes — is so attractive.