KABUL -- At least 16 people were killed and 24 others wounded on Wednesday (November 30) by a blast at a madrassa in Aibak, the provincial capital of Samangan, AFP reported.
The casualties were mostly young individuals, said a physician in Aibak, some 200km north of Kabul.
"All of them are children and ordinary people," he told AFP, asking not to be named.
Precise casualty figures could not be determined at the confirmed blast at Al Jahadia madrassa.
Images and video circulating on social media -- which could not immediately be verified -- showed local authorities picking their way through bodies strewn across the floor of a building.
Prayer mats, shattered glass and other debris littered the scene.
Aibak is a small, ancient provincial capital that came to prominence as a caravan stopping post for traders during the fourth and fifth centuries when it was also a key Buddhist centre.
Frequent attacks concern public
Dozens of blasts and attacks have targeted civilians since August 2021, most of which have been claimed by the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS).
In September, at least 54 people -- including 51 girls and young women -- were killed when a suicide bomber detonated a device at a hall in Kabul packed with hundreds of students taking a practice test for university admissions.
No group claimed responsibility for that bombing, but Afghan authorities later blamed ISIS.
In May 2021, at least 85 people -- mainly girls -- were killed and about 300 were wounded when three bombs exploded near their school in the same Kabul neighbourhood.
No group claimed responsibility for that massacre, but in October 2020 ISIS claimed a suicide attack on an educational centre in the area that killed 24.
ISIS claimed responsibility for a September 5 suicide bombing near the Russian embassy in Kabul that killed two staff members from the diplomatic mission and four Afghan citizens.
The bomber struck near the entrance of the embassy's consular section.
Signs of the expanding presence and activities of ISIS in the western provinces, especially Herat, have stoked fear among the public, observers say.
Authorities on August 13 killed three suspected ISIS affiliates in a hideout in Herat city's third district. The suspects were reportedly planning a terrorist attack.
ISIS's shadow governor of Farah was killed in another clash in Farah city on August 14.
The deaths come after a suicide attack near the Gazar Gah mosque in Herat city on September 2 killed 18 civilians and wounded 23 others, AFP reported.