A suicide bomber attacked a tutoring center in Dasht-e-Barchi area in the west of Kabul on Friday morning, leaving at least 32 people dead and over 40 others wounded, sources from hospitals and victims’ families said.
The attack happened at around 7:30 am when hundreds of students, over half of them girls, were attending a test to prepare for this year’s college entrance exam.
The bombing happened at “Kaaj” tuition center in District 11 in the west of Kabul, leaving at least 19 dead and 27 others wounded, a Taliban spokesman Khalid Zadran said, adding that it was initial information.
Sources put casualties at 32 with over 40 others wounded, over 80 percent of whom are female students.
Most of the victims of the attack are from the Shia and Hazara communities. The attack is not the first of its kind that happens in the west of Kabul, especially on education centers. Many other deadly blasts have targeted education centers in the area, leaving dozens of students killed and scores wounded.
It is the fifth blast in Kabul over the past month in which most of the casualties are civilians.
Some families of the victims of Friday attack who went to see their loved ones at Ali Jinah Hospita in west of Kabul said they were “beaten” by the Taliban and were not allowed properly to visit their sons and daughters who were taken to the health facility. They said they wanted to donate blood to the wounded, but they were not allowed.
“We went to Ali Jinah Hospital and wanted to donate blood, but unfortunately, we were not allowed. They told that they are not getting women’s blood. We don’t know what is the problem with women’s blood,” said a woman who was part of a group that attempted to enter the hospital.
Other victims see the attack as a “genocide” against Hazaras community in Afghanistan.
“Today, the west of Kabul witnessed another attack by terrorists, this time on an education center for Hazaras, and our youth were killed once again,” said SHarifa, a resident of Kabul.
“Why the world is silent? Why isn’t it recognizing Hazaras’ genocide? Why Hazaras are always killed? We wore hijab when we were asked. We separated boys and girls classes when we were asked to do so. What should we do next?” asked Sharifa.
The attack was widely condemned within and outside the country. The UN special rapporteur Richard Bennett condemned the attack and said it was a repeat of a Daesh attack at the same location in 2018.
“Onslaught on education for Hazaras and Shia must end,” he asked. “Stop attacks on Afghanistan’s future. Stop international crimes.”
Former president Hamid Karzai said the attack was against all Islamic and human values.
Sibghatullah Ahmadi, spokesman for anti-Taliban resistance front, said the Taliban rule allows “free movement of other terrorist groups” in Afghanistan.
Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif says he is deeply grieved at the loss of young lives in the attack on an education center in Kabul.
“Words can’t express this sheer barbarism,” he said, calling for “strengthening global cooperation against changing threat matrix of terrorism.”
The Emergency Hospital in Kabul said that 22 patients, including 20 women, have been received at the health facility following the suicide attack on an education center in the Hazara-majority Dasht-e-Barchi area.
The United Nations mission in Afghanistan also condemned “the callous attack at an education center in a Hazara and Shia-majority area” in the west of Kabul.
Meanwhile, US Chargé d’Affaires Karen Decker said the US strongly condemns today’s attack on Kaaj Education Center in Kabul.
“Targeting a room full of students taking exams is shameful. All students should be able to pursue an education in peace and without fear,” she added.