Monday, October 18, 2021

Afghan families bury schoolchildren killed in blasts

The explosions are believed to have been caused by a car bomb and two improvised explosive devices.

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Dozens of Afghan families have been burying their children who were killed in explosions outside a secondary school in the capital Kabul, on Saturday.

More than 60 people died, mostly girls leaving their school in an area often hit by Sunni Islamist militants.

The explosions are believed to have been caused by a car bomb and two improvised explosive devices.

One survivor, Zahra, told reporters she was leaving the school as the blasts happened.

“My classmate was killed. A few minutes later there was another explosion, and then another. Everyone was screaming and there was blood everywhere,” she said.

No-one has admitted carrying out the attack. The Afghan government blamed the Taliban, but the group denied involvement.

More than 150 people were injured in the attack. The area was busy with shoppers ahead of celebrations for Eid al-Fitr.

Najiba Arian, ministry of education spokeswoman, told Reuters news agency the government-run school was open to boys and girls. Most of the those hurt were girls, who study in the second of three sessions.

The neighbourhood in western Kabul where the blasts occurred is home to many from the Hazara minority community, who are of Mongolian and Central Asian descent and are mainly Shia Muslims. The Islamic State group (IS) views them as heretics and dozens have been killed in bombings at sports halls, cultural centres, and places of education.

Almost exactly a year ago, a maternity unit at the local hospital was attacked, leaving 24 women, children and babies dead.

Last year, and in 2018, IS suicide bombers struck tuition centres in the area killing more than 70 people.

Nobel Prize winner and activist Malala Yousafzai – who was shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012 – posted about the “horrendous attack” on Twitter.

“My heart is with the Kabul school victims’ families,” she wrote.

Afghanistan is seeing increasing violence as the US and Nato prepare to pull out all remaining forces from the country on Sept 11.

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