At least 23 people, most of them believed to be young women, have been killed in a suicide bomb attack on an education center in Kabul, in the latest sign of a worsening security situation in the Afghan capital.
The blast took place on Friday at a Kaaj educational center in a predominantly Hazara neighborhood – a long-oppressed ethnic minority.
Kabul police spokesman Khalid Zadran told CNN that the first explosion occurred at 7:30 a.m. local time (11:30 p.m. ET) as students were taking university entrance exams.
Doctor Abdu Ghayas Momand of Ali Jinah Hospital, where some of the victims were taken, said that 23 people died and 36 others were injured.
No one claimed responsibility for the attack.
Eyewitness Taiba Mehtarkhil told CNN that most of the victims were young women. He said he went to the center to look for his friend after hearing the news of the attack and was met with scenes of chaos and despair.
“I saw relatives and other family members of Kaaj students running up and down screaming,” he said. “Some were trying to provide emergency medical aid to their relatives, and some were looking for their sons and daughters. “I saw with my own eyes about 20 martyrs and many more wounded.”
Mehtarkhil’s friend survived the attack because he was running late and had not reached class when the explosion took place.
Another 20-year-old witness, who asked not to be named for safety reasons, told CNN he was about 20 steps from the door when the explosion knocked him to the ground.
“When I entered, I saw many of my classmates covered in blood. I found out that the explosion took place in my classroom,” she said through tears.
“I was in a state of shock. I was just shouting the names of my friends and looking for them. I found some of them alive, but not my 19-year-old best friend and the smartest girl in our class,” he said.
His classroom is the largest at the center, he said, and usually fits about 500 male and female students.
“It’s terrible, I’m still in shock, it feels like a nightmare. He killed many of my dear friends and classmates. I want the world not to take this as just another news story. I want the world to know the pain we are going through right now. I’m completely devastated,” she said.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid condemned the attack in a tweet on Friday.
“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan calls the attack on the Kaj training center in the 13th district of Kabul a major crime, strongly condemns it, and expresses its deepest condolences to the families of the victims of this incident.”
Serious measures will be taken to find and punish criminals,” he added.
UNICEF said they were “appalled by the horrific attack”. tweet friday
“This heinous act has killed dozens of teenage girls and boys and seriously injured many more,” the report 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 building skills for their future.”
The United States “strongly condemns the attack” in a statement on its Twitter account.
“It’s embarrassing to target a room full of students taking exams; all students should be able to study in peace and without fear”, – chargé d’affaires of the US mission in Afghanistan he wrote.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif condemned the attack on his Twitter account: “I am deeply saddened by the death of young people as a result of a terrible suicide attack at an educational center in Kabul. Words cannot express this barbarity. “We offer our deepest condolences and deepest condolences to the families of the deceased and the people of Afghanistan.”
The UN special rapporteur on human rights in Afghanistan, Richard Bennett, also condemned the explosion.
“I condemn today’s horrific attack on students at Kaaj Academy,” Bennett tweeted with the hashtag #studentsnotargets. “The attack on education by Hazaras and Shiites must be stopped. Stop attacks on Afghanistan’s future, stop international crimes.
Bennett said the center was filled with students “full of hope for a brighter future.”
“Afghanistan’s future depends on stopping international crimes, bringing criminals to justice and educating the youth,” he added.
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 has claimed responsibility for 13 attacks against Hazaras and has been linked to three others that have 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 adequate medical and other assistance to victims and their families,” the report added.
In recent weeks, a series of attacks in Kabul have killed dozens of people.
Two employees of the Russian Embassy were among the six killed in a suicide bombing near the Russian Embassy earlier this month, and in August, 21 people were killed and 33 injured in an explosion at a mosque during evening prayers.
This is a breaking news story. More to eat.
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