AFP, published on Sunday 09 May 2021 at 08:18

The death toll from the bombings near a girls’ school in a district of Kabul, mostly populated by Hazara Shiites, now stands at 50, the Afghan interior ministry said on Sunday.

Ministry spokesman Tareq Arian told reporters that a car bomb exploded outside Sayed Al-Shuhada school on Saturday, and two more bombs exploded as panicked students rushed outside.

He added that more than a hundred people were injured and most of the victims are female students.

The explosions occurred in the Hazara neighborhood of Dasht-e-Barchi, in the western part of the Afghan capital.

It took place as its residents were shopping for the approach of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr which will mark the end of the fasting month of Ramadan next week.

Families began burying the victims on Sunday at a hilltop site known as the “Martyrs’ Cemetery”.

The attack has not been claimed, but Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has accused the Taliban of being responsible.

“This group of savages does not have the capacity to confront the security forces on the battlefield, so instead they barbarically attack public buildings and girls’ schools,” he said. he denounced in a press release.

“The Taliban are behind these attacks. They have already carried out similar attacks against schools in the past,” said Mr. Arian.

The Taliban have denied being involved, saying they have not carried out attacks in Kabul since February 2020, when they signed an agreement with the United States paving the way for peace talks and the withdrawal of the last American troops.

However, they are engaged in daily fighting with Afghan forces in the hinterland even as the US military is reducing its presence.

These attacks come when the United States was supposed to have withdrawn the 2,500 American soldiers still present on May 1. This was the deadline chosen during the agreement signed in February 2020 in Qatar with the Taliban by the former administration of Donald Trump, confirming this withdrawal.

But Washington postponed this date to September 11, the 20th anniversary of the 2001 attacks.

The top US diplomat in Kabul, Ross Wilson, called Saturday’s explosions “heinous”.

“This unforgivable attack on children is an attack on the future of Afghanistan, which cannot be tolerated,” Wilson said on Twitter.

The Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood is predominantly populated by Hazara Shiites, often targeted by Sunni Islamist groups.

In the same neighborhood, in May 2020, a group of armed men attacked a maternity hospital supported by Médecins Sans Frontières in broad daylight, killing 25 people, including 16 mothers and newborns. MSF subsequently decided to quit this project.

On October 24, a man blew himself up in a private tutoring center in the same neighborhood, killing 18 people including students.

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