ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A bomb blast hit a religious school in northern Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing at least 10 students, a Taliban official said.
The explosion went off at around the time of afternoon prayers at the Al Jihad Madrassa in Aybak, capital of Samangan province, a resident of the city who heard the explosion told The Associated Press. Most of the students at the school are young boys, said the resident, speaking on condition of anonymity for his own safety.
Interior Ministry spokesman Abdul Nafi Takor said a number of students were wounded in the attack. Samangan province has a majority population of ethnic Uzbeks.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility. But the Afghan affiliate of the Islamic State group has been waging a campaign of violence that escalated since the Taliban took power in August 2021.
IS has carried out bombings targeting in particular Afghanistan's Shiite Muslim minority but has also targeted Sunni mosques and madrassas, especially ones connected to the Taliban. The Taliban and the Islamic State group both adhere to a hard-line ideology but are bitter rivals.
In September, IS also claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing outside the Russian Embassy in the capital city of Kabul. That attack killed two members of the embassy staff and at least one Afghan civilian in a rare attack on a foreign diplomatic mission in Afghanistan.
The group has organized a series of bombings and other attacks since the Taliban seized power a year ago, deposing a Western-backed government and capping their 20-year insurgency.