At least 40 killed in bombing of Afghan religious celebration

Last November a suicide bomber killed over 14 people when he detonated himself outside a Kabul wedding hall, as supporters of a local governor gathered for a political event inside.

The blast ripped through a venue near the city's global airport, where a gathering of religious scholars was taking place, the Afghan interior ministry said.

The death toll from the latest explosion is one of the worst in the capital for months.

The gathering was being held to mark the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed, he said.

In August, at least 34 people were killed in an attack which targeted an education center.

The aid organisation Emergency said on Twitter 33 wounded and seven dead had been taken to its hospital in Kabul.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, but the Islamic State group has claimed most recent suicide attacks in Kabul, which has become the deadliest place in the country for civilians.

In June a suicide bomber struck near a gathering of clerics in Kabul, about an hour after the group had proclaimed such attacks a sin. The body of religious leaders, known as the Afghan Ulema Council, had issued a decree against suicide attacks and called for peace talks.

Afghan Taliban denied involvement and condemned the attack, in a statement.

Both militant groups want to overthrow the US-backed government and impose a harsh form of Islamic rule, but they are bitterly divided over leadership and ideology, and they have clashed on a number of occasions.