UNSC condemns Kabul attack as 'heinous, cowardly'

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But analysts said the Taliban had scored a military and psychological victory against Kabul in Ghazni, proving they have the strength to strike a strategically vital city near the capital at will and remain entrenched there for days.

"We didn't sleep for two nights as children were crying all the time because of the sound of firing", he said.

Many residents have already fled the city, adding to the influx of people displaced by violence that has long strained resources in Kabul.

Authorities meanwhile revised the death toll from Wednesday's bombing in Kabul's neighborhood of Dasht-e-Barchi to 34 killed, not 48. "He was a smart and energetic boy, top of his class", Assadullah said.

Gen. Nicholson expressed deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the young Afghan students martyred and wounded in the horrific attack at the educational center.

Special units had arrived at the scene, Nasrat Rahimi, a spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry, said.

The attack on the education centre took place in a mostly Shia Muslim neighbourhood of Kabul. He did not say if all the victims were students and whether any of their teachers were also among the casualties. No group has claimed the responsibility of the attack so far.

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AT least 88 civilians and security personnel have been killed in two separate terror attacks.

Nahida Rahimi, a doctor at Kabul's Isteqlal Hospital, where some of the wounded are being treated, said a mother told her she had lost a son in Wednesday's bombing after already losing another a year earlier in another suicide bombing, also in Kabul, that targeted Shiites.

The UN special representative for Afghanistan has said reports indicate that the civilian death toll from the fighting was "immense", with unverified tolls suggesting more than 100 civilians were killed in the clashes.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the assault. The casualties were taken to a hospital. Mohammad Safdar Mohseni, head of the provincial council, said the terrorists set fire to checkpoints after the attack in Baghlan-i Markazi district.

Around a dozen ambulances rushed to the Mawoud education center in the western part of the city, where students and relatives described pulling bloodied victims from the rubble of a classroom that had been crowded with teenagers preparing to go to university.

In his most detailed comments on the Taliban's assault on the eastern city of Ghazni since it began August 10, Mattis said the Taliban had six objectives in and around the city and failed to seize any of them.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, four policemen were killed and four were seriously wounded late Wednesday when they tried to defuse a vehicle bomb they found in southern Kandahar province, according to Zia Durrani, provincial police spokesman. "They will never hold against the Afghan army".

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