The death toll from bombs placed in front of a girls’ school in an area of the Afghan capital largely populated by Shia Hazaras rose to 50 on Sunday as the Taliban denied government accusations they were behind. the bloody attack.
Saturday’s explosions – the deadliest in over a year – rocked the western Kabul district of Dasht-e-Barchi, a regular target of Sunni Islamist militants.
It comes as the US military continues to withdraw its last 2,500 troops from the violence-ravaged country despite hesitant peace efforts between the Taliban and the Afghan government to end a decades-long war.
Describing Saturday’s carnage, Interior Ministry spokesman Tareq Arian told reporters that a car bomb first exploded outside the Sayed Al-Shuhada school, and when the students pulled up. rushed into a panic, two other devices exploded.
He said more than 100 people were injured, adding that most of the victims were female students.
Residents were shopping ahead of this week’s Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, the holy month of Muslim fasting.
On Sunday, parents began burying the dead at a perched site known as the “Martyrs’ Cemetery.”
No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack, but Afghan officials, including President Ashraf Ghani, have blamed the Taliban.
“This savage group does not have the power to confront the security forces on the battlefield, and instead targets with brutality and barbarity the public facilities and the girls’ school,” Ghani said in a statement afterwards. explosions.
The insurgents have denied any involvement and insist they have not carried out attacks in Kabul since February last year, when they signed a deal with the United States that paved the way for peace talks and the withdrawal of the remaining US troops.
But the group clashed in near-daily battles with Afghan forces in the rugged countryside even as the U.S. military reduced its presence.
The United States was said to have pulled out all of its forces by May 1 as part of a deal struck with the Taliban last year, but Washington pushed the date back to September 11 – a move that angered insurgents .
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 stand,” Wilson said on Twitter.
The Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood is regularly the target of attacks by Sunni Islamist militants.
In May last year, a group of gunmen attacked an area hospital in a brazen daytime raid that left 25 people dead, including 16 mothers of newborns.
On October 24, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a training center in the same neighborhood, killing 18 people in an attack that was also not claimed.
© 2021 AFP