Six Dead, 24 Injured As Two Bombs Hit Afghan School
At least six people were killed and 24 wounded on Tuesday by two bomb blasts that struck a boys’ school in a Shiite Hazara neighbourhood of the Afghan capital, police and hospital staff said.
The number of attacks in Afghanistan has significantly declined since the Taliban ousted the US-backed government in August, but the jihadist Islamic State group has claimed several since then.
Several bodies were strewn outside the gate of the school in the densely populated Shiite Dasht-e-Barchi neighbourhood in Kabul, alongside patches of blood, burnt books and school bags, according to images posted on social media.
“We were leaving school and had just stepped out from the rear gate when the explosion occurred,” Ali Jan, a student who was wounded in the first blast, told AFP at a hospital.
The second blast took place as rescuers arrived to ferry victims from the first explosion to hospitals.
“Some of our friends have lost hands, while some were covered in blood,” said Saeed Rahmatullah Haidari, a student at the school.
“There were pieces of broken glass and pools of blood… my whole body was shaking.”
Outside a hospital treating the wounded, Taliban fighters beat back the families of students who had gathered, slapping or pushing some of them as they searched for information.
Women cried out as they scanned through pictures of victims posted on nearby walls by medics.
Kabul police spokesman Khalid Zadran told AFP that the attack outside the Abdul Rahim Shahid school was caused by two improvised explosive devices, killing six people.
A grenade was also thrown at a nearby English language centre in the same area, wounding one person, he later said.
Two hospitals said they were treating 24 wounded patients.
Amnesty International condemned Tuesday’s ‘reprehensible attacks’ against the Hazara community.
“It also shows that the Taliban, as the de-facto authorities, are failing to protect civilians, especially those from ethnic and religious minority groups, from harm,” Amnesty International’s South Asia Campaigner Samira Hamidi said in a statement.
The European Union’s special envoy to Afghanistan, Tomas Niklasson, said those behind the “heinous” attacks must be held accountable.
The Dasht-e-Barchi neighbourhood is mainly home to the Hazara community and has been previously targeted by the Islamic State group — a rival of the Taliban, also a hardline Sunni Islamist movement.
The Hazara community, which makes up between 10 and 20 per cent of the country’s 38 million people, has long been the target of mass-casualty attacks, some blamed on the Taliban during their 20-year insurgency.
Since seizing power the Taliban have regularly carried out raids on suspected IS hideouts, mainly in the eastern Nangarhar province.
Taliban officials insist their forces have defeated IS, but analysts say the jihadist group is a key security challenge.
It has claimed some of the deadliest attacks in Afghanistan in recent years.
In May last year at least 85 people — mainly girl students — were killed and about 300 wounded when three bombs exploded near their school in Dasht-e-Barchi.
No group claimed responsibility, but in October 2020 IS claimed a suicide attack on an educational centre in the same area that killed 24, including students.
In May 2020, the group was blamed for a bloody gun attack on a maternity ward of a hospital in the neighbourhood that killed 25 people, including new mothers.