An attack carried out by Taliban militants in Afghanistan Wednesday evening was widely condemned Thursday, including by some of the country’s leading religious authority. Prominent Islamic scholars said journalism was a “sacred profession” and condemned the Taliban for acts they said tarnished the image of Islam, according to local media outlets.

"There is no justification for such cowardly acts in the Sharia Law [Islamic law]. Islam has never supported such repressions," religious scholar Sayed Samiullah Sahibzada said, according to Tolo, the station that was targeted in the attack.

At least seven people were killed after a suicide bomber crashed a bomb-laden car into a vehicle carrying employees of the TV station, the country’s largest media group. Tolo is among Afghanistan’s most credible media outlets and was the first 24-hour news station in the country. The Taliban called the station a "spy agency" and said it was targeted for airing anti-Taliban programming.

"If they do not stop their evil activities, this will not be the last attack on them," Zabihullah Mujahid, a religious scholar, said.

Afghan Interior Ministry spokesperson Sediq Seddiqi said the attack remained under investigation, Voice of America reported Thursday. The U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, as well as other organizations across the country, condemned the attack and said journalists and civilians should never be the target of violence.

The Taliban reiterated warnings against the media Thursday but said journalists were not the specific target of violence, Reuters reported. They called on organizations to refrain from aligning with Tolo. Under Taliban rule, which lasted 1996 to 2001, television was banned and deemed un-Islamic by the extremist group. Journalism has been a dangerous profession in Afghanistan for years.

Afghanistan has seen rising violence in recent months. The Taliban has stepped up attacks in some parts of the country, and militants laid siege to an airport in Kandahar for about 27 hours last month, leading to at least 50 deaths. Other militant groups, including the Islamic State group, have also made inroads in the country.