Published:  01:02 PM, 09 May 2021

Attack near secondary school in Afghanistan

Attack near secondary school in Afghanistan


Blasts close to a secondary school in the Afghan capital Kabul have left at least 50 people dead and more than 100 injured, officials say.

The explosions took place as students were leaving the building on Saturday, with pictures on social media showing abandoned school bags in the street.

Most of the victims were girls, a ministry of education spokeswoman said.

No-one has admitted carrying out the attack in Dasht-e-Barchi - an area often hit by Sunni Islamist militants.

Afghan government officials blamed Taliban militants for the attack, but the group denied any involvement.

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

The neighbourhood in western Kabul is home to many from the Hazara minority community, who are of Mongolian and Central Asian descent and are mainly Shia Muslims.

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

The exact target for Saturday's bloodshed is unclear.

The blasts come against a backdrop of rising violence as the US looks to withdraw all its troops from Afghanistan by 11 September.

Reports from Kabul say the city was busy with shoppers ahead of this year's celebrations for Eid al-Fitr next week.

Students were also streaming from the school. 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, according to Ms Arian.

Several witnesses described hearing three separate explosions, while one woman told AFP news agency she had seen "many bloodied bodies in dust and smoke".

"I saw a woman checking the bodies and calling for her daughter," the woman, Reza, said. "She then found her daughter's bloodstained purse after which she fainted and fell to the ground."

The US state department condemned "the barbarous attack".

"We call for an immediate end to violence and the senseless targeting of innocent civilians," it said.

The European Union's mission in Afghanistan said on Twitter that "targeting primarily students in a girls' school, makes this an attack on the future of Afghanistan".


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