At least 17 people were killed and 26 injured in a bomb blast at a religious school in northern Afghanistan.
The blast occurred in Aybak, Samangan province, apparently as people were leaving prayers.
The majority of those killed are believed to be children between the ages of 9 and 15, a source in Samangan told the BBC.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, and the toll could rise.
A local hospital doctor said most of the victims were school students.
“They are all children and ordinary people,” said a doctor quoted by AFP.
He added that some seriously injured patients were transported to larger hospitals in Mazar-i-Sharif – some 120 kilometres (74 miles) away – for better treatment.
Interior Ministry spokesman Abdul Nafee Takkur said Taliban security forces were investigating the attack and promised to “identify the perpetrators and punish them for their actions”.
Former President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, said the blast was a “crime against humanity” in a tweet and expressed sympathy to the victims’ families.
Aybak is a historical city that became a trading hub and a centre for Buddhists in the 4th and 5th Centuries. It sits around 200 km (130 miles) north of Kabul’s capital.
Dozens of blasts have rocked Afghanistan since the Taliban seized power last year, mostly claimed by the local offshoot of the Islamic State group, known as Islamic State – Khorasan Province (ISIS-K).
The group is the most extreme of the militant groups in Afghanistan and has targeted religious minorities – such as Hazaras – who the Taliban have pledged to protect. However, Human Rights Watch recently observed that “Taliban authorities have done little to protect these communities from suicide bombings and other unlawful attacks”.
In September, at least 54 people – including 51 girls and young women – were killed after a suicide bomber detonated a bomb in the capital city of Kabul. The attacker had targeted a hall where hundreds of students were sitting a test for university admission.
Taliban leaders later blamed ISIS-K for the attack, though the group itself did not take responsibility.