At least 23 people, thought to be young women, were killed in a suicide attack on an education center in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul.
The blast took place Friday at the Kaaj training center in the predominantly Hazara neighborhood, an ethnic minority group that has long faced repression.
Kabul Police Spokesperson Khalid Zadran told CNN that the students took a university entrance exam at 7:30 am local time (23:00 ET) when the explosion first occurred.
Doctor Abdu Ghayas Momand from Ali Jinah Hospital, where some of the victims were taken, said 23 people were killed and 36 injured.
No one claimed responsibility for the attack.
Eyewitness Taiba Mehtarkhil told CNN that most of the dead were young women. She said that after hearing the news of the attack, she went to the headquarters to look for her friend and was confronted with the sights of chaos and desperation.
“I saw other members of the Kaaj students’ families running up and down screaming,” he said. “Some were trying to provide emergency medical care to their loved ones, others were looking for their sons and daughters. I saw with my own eyes about 20 people died and many more injured.”
Mehtarkhil’s friend said he survived the attack because he was late and did not reach the classroom when the explosion occurred.
Another 20-year-old witness, who declined to be named for security reasons, told CNN the explosion was about 20 feet from the door when it threw him to the ground.
“I saw most of my classmates covered in blood when I walked in. I learned that the explosion was in my classroom,” she said through tears.
“I was in a state of shock. I was just yelling out my friends’ names and looking for them. I found some of them alive but not my best 19-year-old friend, but the smartest girl in our class,” she said.
He said his classroom is the largest in the center and can normally fit around 500 male and female students.
“It’s horrible, I’m still in shock, I feel like a nightmare. It killed many of my favorite friends and classmates. I don’t want the world to treat this as just another piece of news. I want the world to know the pain we’re going through right now. I’m totally devastated,” she said.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid condemned the attack in a tweet on Friday.
The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan considers the attack on the Kaj training center in the 13th district of Kabul a major crime, strongly condemns and expresses its deepest condolences to the families of the victims of this incident.”
“Serious measures will be taken to find and punish the perpetrators,” he said.
UNICEF said it was “appalled by the horrific attack”. chirp Friday.
“This heinous act has claimed the lives of dozens of adolescent girls and boys and severely injured many more,” he said. “Violence is never acceptable in or around educational institutions. Such places should be havens of peace where children can learn, be with friends and feel safe while developing skills for their future.”
The US said in a statement on Twitter that it “strongly condemns the attack”.
“It’s embarrassing to target a room full of test takers; All students should be able to study in peace and without fear,” said the US Charge d’Affaires in Afghanistan. Wrote.
Pakistani prime minister Shehbaz Sharif condemned the attack by tweeting: “Deeply saddened by the death of youth in a horrific suicide attack on an education center in Kabul. Words cannot express this sheer barbarism. We send our deepest condolences and deepest condolences to the grieving families and people of Afghanistan.”
Richard Bennett, the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in Afghanistan, also condemned the bombing.
“I condemn the horrific attack on students at Kaaj Academy today,” Bennett said using the hashtag #studentsnotargets. “For Hazaras and Shiites, the attack on education must end. Stop attacks on Afghanistan’s future, stop international crimes.
Bennett said the center is filled with students who are “hopeful for a brighter future.”
“The future of Afghanistan depends on stopping international crime, holding the perpetrators to account and educating the youth,” he said.
Since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in August 2021, there have been numerous attacks against the Hazara community.
According to Human Rights Watch, the Islamic State of Khorasan Province claimed responsibility for 13 attacks on Hazaras and was linked to three more attacks that killed and injured at least 700 people.
“Taliban authorities have done little to protect these communities from suicide bombings and other illegal attacks or to provide victims and their families with necessary medical care and other assistance,” the report said.
A series of attacks in Kabul have claimed dozens of lives in recent weeks.
Earlier this month, two Russian embassy employees were among six killed in a suicide attack near the Russian embassy, and an explosion at a mosque during evening prayers in August left 21 people dead and 33 injured.
This is breaking news. More to come.
Leave a Comment