France says ‘several dead’ in ‘barbaric’ Kabul school bombing

Fabius called for the perpetrators of the "barbaric act" to be identified and brought to justice

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France condemned a "barbaric" suicide bomb attack at a high school attached to the French cultural center in Kabul on Thursday, saying it had left several dead.

"I firmly condemn this terrorist act which caused the death of several people and left many injured. There were no French victims," Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in a statement.

He said crisis units had been set up both in Kabul and France to look into the latest in a string of attacks to hit the Afghan capital in recent weeks.

Fabius called for the perpetrators of the "barbaric act" to be identified and brought to justice.

The Afghan capital has been hit by a series of deadly Taliban attacks in recent weeks, highlighting the fragility of the security situation as NATO combat forces leave after more than a decade of war.

Kabul police chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi told reporters the bomber blew himself up in the audience watching a theatre show at the Istiqlal High School which is attached to the French cultural centre.

"A suicide bomber blew himself up among the audience in Istiqlal High School (French Cultural Center)," Afghan interior ministry spokesman Sediqi Sediqqi told AFP.

Deputy Interior Minister Mohammed Ayub Salangi said at least one person was killed and 15 others were wounded in the attack.

The toll was confirmed by another police official.

The cultural centre is located in the centre of Kabul, not far from the presidential palace and shares its grounds with the Istiqlal school, a French-financed institution that has taught generations of Afghan children.

Originally opened in 1970, the cultural centre was forced to close between 1983 and 2002 as Afghanistan was torn apart by a series of wars.

It reopened in 2003 and was revamped in 2010.

The growing spate of deadly attacks in Kabul in recent weeks has heightened concerns that Afghanistan could tip into a spiral of violence as the US-led military presence declines.

Militants have targeted foreign guest houses, embassy vehicles, U.S. troops and Afghan army buses in Kabul over the past month, undermining claims that the insurgency is weakening as NATO's 13-year war ends.

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