Kabul faculty blast toll rises to 68

Kabul, May 9

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 shook the neighbourhood of Dasht-e-Barchi, home to a large community of Shi’ites from the Hazara ethnic minority which has been targeted in the past by Islamic State militants, a Sunni militant group.

Relatives of victims mourn the deaths in Kabul.  Reuters

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.

President blames Taliban

  • President Ashraf Ghani blames Taliban, but the latter has denied involvement in the attack
  • Several families are searching for their children in hospitals
  • Most of the bodies are yet to be identified, say officials
  • Doctors still struggling to provide care to around 165 injured

On Sunday, civilians and policemen collected books and school bags strewn across a blood-stained road that was busy with shoppers ahead of this year’s celebrations for Eid al-Fitr next week.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday blamed the attack on Taliban insurgents but a spokesman for the Taliban denied involvement, saying the group condemns any attacks on Afghan civilians.

Pope Francis condemned the attack in Kabul, calling it an “inhuman act” in remarks to pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City on Sunday. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also condemned the attack. Families of the victims blamed the Afghan government and Western powers for failing to put an end to violence and the ongoing war.

Condemning the killing of civilians, India’s foreign ministry said the death of more than 50 young girls made this an attack on the future of Afghanistan.

On Twitter, China’s ambassador to Afghanistan, Wang Yu, said the abrupt US announcement of a complete withdrawal of forces had led to a succession of attacks throughout the country.

Conflict is still raging in Afghanistan, with security forces locked in daily combat with the Taliban who have waged war to overthrow the foreign-backed government since they were ousted from power in Kabul in 2001. Although the United States did not meet the May 1 withdrawal deadline agreed in talks with the Taliban last year, its pull-out has begun, with President Joe Biden announcing all troops will be out by September 11. — Reuters

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