IS bomber kills 40 at Afghan cultural centre

A suspected Islamic State (IS) suicide bomber on Thursday blew himself at a compound comprising a news agency, Shia cultural centre and religious school, killing at least 40 people, many of them students, and injuring another 30.

The explosion took place at Tebyan cultural centre where a panel was in session to mark the 38th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Many students, women and children were among those killed.

IS has claimed responsibility for the attack in an online statement posted by its propaganda outlet Amaq.

A journalist said authorities had cordoned off streets in the area the evening before as if they were expecting an attack. The latest attack came days after another suicide bomber killed six civilians near an intelligence agency compound in the city.

A presidential spokesman described the attack as “unpardonable”, a crime against humanity and Islam.

“The terrorists have attacked our mosques, our holy places and now our cultural centre,” the spokesman said.

The attack which took place near Afghan Voice news agency is significant. IS has been upset with poor media coverage of their actions.

The security situation in Kabul has deteriorated rapidly over the past few months amid increasing attacks both by the Taliban and IS, which is seeking to increase its foothold in the country.

The western area of Kabul in which the attacks took place is a predominantly Shiite neighbourhood that has been the target of IS militants in the past.