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Afghanistan: Bomb blast by a girls’ school - 68 killed

Sunday 9 May 2021, by siawi3

Source: https://www.dawn.com/news/1622887/death-toll-from-blasts-near-afghan-girls-school-rises-to-68

Death toll from blasts near Afghan girls’ school rises to 68

AFP | Reuters

Published May 9, 2021 - Updated about 5 hours ago

Photos here

Shia mourners carry the body of a school girl, who died in multiple blasts outside a girls’ school, for burial in Dasht-e-Barchi on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan on Sunday. — AFP
Onlookers stand next to a pile of backpacks and books of victims following multiple blasts outside a girls’ school in Dasht-e-Barchi on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan on Sunday. — AFP

The death toll from multiple explosions outside a school in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul has risen to 68, Afghan officials said on Sunday, with doctors struggling to provide medical care to 165 injured and officials trying to identify bodies.

Multiple blasts on Saturday evening — the deadliest in more than a year — shook the neighbourhood of Dasht-e-Barchi, home to a large community of Shi’ites from the Hazara ethnic minority — a regular target of militants.

At first, a car bomb was detonated in front of the Sayed Al-Shuhada school on Saturday, and when the students rushed out in panic, two more bombs exploded.

Officials said most of those killed were school girls. Some families were still searching hospitals for their missing children.

The blasts came as the United States military continues to pull out its last 2,500 troops from the violence-wracked country despite faltering peace efforts between the Taliban and Afghan government to end a decades-long war.

Describing Saturday’s carnage, Interior Ministry spokesman Tareq Arian told reporters that a car bomb first detonated in front of the Sayed Al Shuhada School, and when the students rushed out in panic, two more devices exploded.

He said more than 100 people were wounded, adding that most of the victims were female students.

Residents were out shopping ahead of this week’s Eidul Fitr, which marks the end of Ramazan, the Muslim holy month of fasting.

On Sunday relatives began burying the dead at a hilltop site known as “Martyrs Cemetery”.

No group has so far claimed the attack, but Afghan officials including President Ashraf Ghani blamed the Taliban.

“This savage group does not have the power to confront security forces on the battlefield, and instead targets with brutality and barbarism public facilities and the girls’ school,” Ghani said in a statement after the blasts.

The insurgents have denied involvement and insist they have not carried out attacks in Kabul since February last year, when they signed a deal with the United States that paved the way for peace talks and withdrawal of the remaining US troops.

But the group has clashed in near-daily battles with Afghan forces in the rugged countryside even as the US military reduces its presence.

The United States was supposed to have pulled all forces out by May 1 under a deal struck with the Taliban last year, but Washington pushed back the date to September 11 — a move that angered the insurgents.

The top US diplomat in Kabul, Ross Wilson, called Saturday’s blasts “abhorrent”.

“This unforgivable attack on children is an assault on Afghanistan’s future, which cannot stand,” Wilson said on Twitter.

The Dasht-e-Barchi neighbourhood has been a regular target of attacks from Islamist militants.

In May last year, a group of gunmen attacked a hospital in the area in a brazen daylight raid that left 25 people dead, including 16 mothers of newborn babies.

On October 24, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a tuition centre in the same district, killing 18 people in an attack that also went unclaimed.

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Source: https://www.dawn.com/news/1622729/30-killed-52-wounded-in-blast-near-afghan-girls-school

30 killed, 52 wounded in blast near Afghan girls’ school

AFP

Published May 8, 2021 - Updated about 11 hours ago

Photo: An injured woman is transported to a hospital after a blast in Kabul on May 8. — Reuters

A blast outside a girls’ school in an area of the Afghan capital populated largely by the Hazara community killed at least 30 people and wounded scores including students on Saturday, officials said.

The explosion rocked the west Kabul district of Dasht-e-Barchi — a regular target of Islamist militants — as residents were out shopping ahead of Eidul Fitr next week that marks the end of Ramazan.

It comes as the United States military continues to pull out its last remaining 2,500 troops from violence-wracked Afghanistan, despite faltering peace efforts between the Taliban and Afghan government to end a decades-long war.

Interior ministry spokesman Tareq Arian told reporters that at least “30 people were killed and 52 wounded” in the blast.

Arian’s deputy Hamid Roshan told AFP that an investigation had begun into the explosion, adding that casualties included students.

“I saw many bloodied bodies in dust and smoke, while some of the wounded were screaming in pain,” Reza, who escaped the blast, told AFP, adding that most of the victims were teenaged female students who had just left the school.

“I saw a woman checking the bodies and calling for her daughter. She then found her daughter’s blood stained purse after which she fainted and fell to the ground.”

Health ministry spokesman Dastagir Nazari said several ambulances had been rushed to the site and were evacuating the wounded.

He said an angry crowd had beaten the ambulance workers at the site.

No organisation took responsibility for the attack and the Taliban denied involvement.

But President Ashraf Ghani blamed the group for the blast, which took place near the entry gate of Sayed Al-Shuhada girls’ school.

“This savage group [Taliban] does not have the power to confront security forces on the battlefield, and instead targets with brutality and barbarism public facilities and the girls’ school,” he said in a statement.

’Despicable act of terrorism’

The Taliban has denied carrying out attacks in Kabul since February last year, when they signed a deal with the United States that paved the way for peace talks and withdrawal of the remaining US troops.

But the group has clashed in near-daily battles in the rugged countryside with Afghan forces even as the US military continues its withdrawal.

The US was supposed to have pulled all forces out by May 1 under a deal struck with the Taliban last year, but Washington pushed back the date to September 11 — a move that angered the insurgents.

Read: US pullout from Afghanistan a test for Pakistan, other neighbours

The European Union delegation in Afghanistan condemned what it said was a “despicable act of terrorism”.

“Targeting primarily students in a girls’ school, makes this an attack on the future of Afghanistan. On young people determined to improve their country,” it said on Twitter.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) expressed its “deep revulsion” at the blast.

The Dasht-e-Barchi neighbourhood has been a regular target of attacks from Islamist militants.

In May last year a group of gunmen attacked a hospital in the area in a brazen daylight raid that left 25 people killed, including 16 mothers of new-born babies.

The hospital was supported by Doctors Without Borders, the international medical charity, which later pulled out of the project.

No group claimed that attack, but Ghani blamed the Taliban and the Islamic State group.

On October 24, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a tuition centre in the same district, killing 18 people including students in an attack that also went unclaimed.

Pakistan condemns attack

Meanwhile, Pakistan strongly condemned the “reprehensible” attack. In a statement, the Foreign Office said that that Pakistan offered heartfelt condolences to the Afghan government and citizens and prayed for quick recovery of the injured.

“Pakistan condemns terrorism in all forms and manifestations. At this moment of grief, Pakistan stands [with] Afghan brethren in their struggle against the scourge of terrorism,” the statement said.

“Pakistan will continue to support Afghanistan on its path to peace, progress and prosperity,” it added.

Additional input by Naveed Siddiqui