Crime & Justice

Death toll in attack on Afghan girls school climbs to 30

Kabul, May 8 (EFE).- The death toll from Saturday’s bombing near a girls secondary school in Kabul has reached 30, Afghan officials said.

Initial reports following the attack in a Shiite-majority neighborhood in the west of the Afghan capital spoke of 25 dead and 52 injured.

“The number of martyred people is increased to 30,” Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said in a statement, while his counterpart at the Public Health Ministry told Efe that 79 others hurt in the blast were being treated at Kabul hospitals.

Children account for many of the casualties, the health ministry’s Dastagir Nazari said, adding that some of the “injured persons are in critical conditions and our doctors are trying to save lives.”

Footage shared on social media shortly after the bomb attack at 4:27 pm showed victims with burn injuries outside what appears to be the main entrance of the school, located in an area with a large population of the mainly Shiite Hazara ethnic minority, often targeted by Islamist extremists.

Last October, a suicide bomber killed 24 people and injured 57 outside another school in the same neighborhood.

Although no group has come forward to claim responsibility for Saturday’s attack, it bore the hallmarks of Islamic State.

Yet the country’s president, Ashraf Ghani, put the blame squarely on the Taliban, accusing the Islamist group who governed Afghanistan for five years prior to the US invasion in October 2001 of “intensifying their illegitimate war.”

Ghani said he was ordering the Afghan security to “respond” to the bombing.

The Taliban denied involvement and denounced the attack.

“We condemn today’s blast in Dasht-e-Barchi area of Kabul which targeted civilians and sadly caused heavy losses. They are the actions of sinister circles that are operating in the name of Daesh (Islamic State) under the wings and intelligence cover of Kabul administration,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.

Violence has surged in recent weeks in Afghanistan, especially since May 1, the date when all US and NATO forces were supposed to have been out of Afghanistan under the agreement the Taliban signed last year with the then-president of the United States, Donald Trump.

The current president, Joe Biden, announced last month that he was postponing the target date for full withdrawal of US forces until Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington by al-Qaeda militants under the command of Osama bin Laden, then living in Afghanistan. EFE bks-mt/jt/dr

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