A school in the largely Shiite Muslim neighborhood of Dasht-e-Barchi in the Afghan capital of Kabul was struck by a bombing on Saturday.
According to the Associated Press, the death toll had climbed to 50 as of Friday as grieving family members buried their dead while over 100 were wounded.
Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said that three explosions struck the Syed Al-Shahda school as the girls were leaving for the day. Boys attend the school in the morning while girls attend in the afternoon.
The Taliban, which is experiencing a resurgence in the war-torn nation as U.S. troops begin to withdraw after a twenty years’ presence there, denied responsibility and condemned the attacks.
The blasts targeted members of the Hazaras, who are Shiite Muslims and have been victimized by a number of such attacks in recent years for which the Islamic State, which is Sunni and has declared war on Afghanistan’s Shiites, has claimed responsibility.
So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the Dasht-e-Barchi school blasts Saturday.
“In this same neighborhood in 2018, a school bombing killed 34 people, mostly students. In September 2018 a wrestling club was attacked killing 24 people and in May 2020 a maternity hospital was brutally attacked killing 24 people, including pregnant women and infants. And in October 2020, the Kawsar-e-Danish tutoring center was attacked, killing 30 people,” the AP explained.
“Most of the attacks were claimed by the Islamic State affiliate operating in Afghanistan,” they noted.
Locals expressed frustration with the government in the wake of the attacks for failing to protect the Hazaras.
“The government reacts after the incident, it doesn’t do anything before the incident,” said Mohammad Baqir, whose niece, Latifa, was killed in the attack.
On Sunday, leaders from the neighborhood met to address their grievances, and came up with a plan to “cobble together a protection force of their own from among the Hazara community,” the AP noted.
“The force would be deployed outside schools, mosques and public facilities and would cooperate with government security forces. The intention is to supplement the local forces, said Parliamentarian Ghulam Hussein Naseri,” the report added.
Pope Francis called for prayer for the victims of the attack during his Sunday address from the Vatican City.
“Let us pray for the victims of the terrorist attack in Kabul, an inhumane action that struck so many girls as they were coming out of school. May God give Afghanistan peace,” he said.
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