Grieving families bury their loved ones after the terrorist attack on a school in the Afghan capital, Kabul. More than 50 people were killed, many of them girls.
The number of wounded from Saturday attack The Interior Ministry stated that it had exceeded 100, and there were still fears that the death toll would rise.
News Agency sources Reuters Sunday says at least 68 have been killed and 165 injured.
The attack in the Dasht-e-Barchi district in western Kabul is an ominous sign of what the future may hold. Criticism of insecurity, as well as fear of more violence, is mounting after the United States and NATO leave the country this fall.
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Many are outraged by the government that they believe has failed to protect them from repeated attacks by extremists. Most of the neighborhood’s residents are Hazara, who belong to the predominantly Shiite minority in the country.
The government responded after the incident, but did nothing in advance, says Muhammad Baqer, 41, who buried his niece Latifa on Sunday.
She was in the eleventh grade at Sayed Al-Shuhada School.
Many of the victims were teenage girls. The Taliban deny any wrongdoing. ISIS has claimed responsibility for terrorist attacks in the area several times before, but no group has so far taken responsibility for this.
The bombs exploded outside the school in the afternoon. Several students were on their way out of school.
First, a car bomb exploded. When several students left the school in a panic, two more explosive devices detonated.
And again on the street there were backpacks and schoolbooks stained with blood, dead and wounded.
I lost a friend
The boys use school in the morning, while the girls’ turn in the afternoon.
I was with my classmate, and we were on our way out of school when suddenly the explosion happened, says 15-year-old Zahra.
Ten minutes later, another explosion occurred, and a few minutes later, another explosion occurred. Everyone shouted and there was blood everywhere, and I couldn’t see anything clearly, says Zahra.
Her arm is broken by shrapnel. The friend was killed.
Sadness and anger
Residents of the area say the collision caused by the explosion was loud.
I ran to the place and discovered that it was the same everywhere around me, with severed hands and heads and broken bones, says Muhammad Taqi.
His daughters go to school, but they flee the attack.
– Everyone was a girl, says Taqi about the scene he encountered.
Immediately after the attack, angry people gathered at the school. Some were so angry that they attacked health workers who were trying to evacuate many of the victims.
Over the years, Afghanistan has been subjected to a series of bloody terrorist attacks on civilians. Recently, journalists, lawyers, and other people have also been filtered into professions that radical Islamists despise.
Last week, students at the school protested the shortage of teachers and educational materials, says Mirza Hussain, a university student in the area.
What they got in return was a massacre, says Hussein, who studies at a university in the region.
Taliban refers to ISIS
Saturday’s attack is among the worst that Kabul has ever seen, and once again it was the Hazaras who were injured.
Frustrated Hazara leaders agreed in Dasht-e-Barchi on Sunday to form a force to protect them from future attacks. The force will be deployed outside schools, mosques and public buildings. Representative Gholam Hussein al-Nasiri said that they would cooperate with government forces.
How many families lose loved ones? He asks how many attacks on this minority must take place in this part of town before anything can be done.
Pointing to the IS
The Taliban were quick to condemn the attack, citing the Islamic State group, which had settled in Afghanistan in recent years and declared war on the Hazara minority.
However, President Ashraf Ghani blames the Taliban.
“This brutal group does not have the strength to confront the security forces on the battlefield, and instead deals with brutality and barbarism after public institutions and the girls’ school, “Ghani said in a statement.
The Taliban denied any involvement in Kabul since February of last year, when they signed an agreement paving the way for peace talks and the withdrawal of the remaining US forces.
And the Taliban, in a statement after the attack on the school, called on the nation to “secure and take care of educational centers and institutions.”
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