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Radicals attack Afghan schoolgirls, killing 25 in a blast

Kabul—Extremists are three attacks targeting girls outside Kabul’s predominantly Shiite neighborhood schools in attacks that could exacerbate sectarian tensions prior to the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. The explosion killed at least 25 people.

The blast struck the Sayeda Shuhada school in the Dasht-e Barchi area of ​​western Kabul, primarily home to the Shiite Hazara community. The area has been suffering from a series of deadly attacks in recent months.

No group claimed responsibility for the bombing, and the cause of the explosion was not immediately apparent. Video disseminated on social media showed a car burned out by the school, suggesting that the militants used a car bomb.

In the past, regional affiliates in Islamic countries, which Shiites consider to have rejected Islam, have generally acknowledged the achievements of attacks targeting Shiite civilians. The Taliban severely suppressed the Hazaras when the movement dominated much of Afghanistan in the 1990s, but the Taliban now say they tolerate a Shiite minority. A Taliban spokesman tweeted to blame Saturday’s attack, accusing the Islamic State of being behind it.

The Sayeda Shuhada School is home to male and female students studying in separate shifts. The explosion happened in the afternoon as the girl was leaving for the day.

Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said 52 people were injured. It was not immediately clear how many of the victims were children. Senior guards provided photos and footage from nearby hospitals showing at least 16 bodies.

Many Hazara, mainly Sunni Muslim Shiite minorities, have vehemently criticized the government for failing to protect them. After the bombing on Saturday, senior security officials said it was impossible to immediately assess the exact cause of the explosion, as furious residents of the area attacked police officers and prevented security forces from entering the scene. Said.

Witnesses living near the school said he was walking down the street when the first blast struck Dasht-e Barchi. “I saw smoke rising from the side of the school, and then I heard two consecutive explosions,” said a resident who asked not to be named because of security concerns. “I saw people rushing to school to find their children, and I saw people transferring dead and injured students to a nearby hospital. Immediately after the blast, an ambulance siren It was everywhere. “

The attack could exacerbate Afghanistan’s fear of further violence and perhaps a sectarian civil war as the United States withdraws the rest of its troops from the country prior to President Biden’s September 11 deadline. US officials have suggested that the withdrawal could be completed in July.

President Biden’s decision to leave Afghanistan follows an agreement between the Taliban and the Trump administration since February last year, with rebels promising to participate in peace talks with the Afghan government. However, US efforts to conclude such a peace agreement between the Taliban and the Afghan government before the complete withdrawal have been stalled. Instead, the Taliban have recently continued to push attacks on Afghan government forces, approaching several state capitals. Meanwhile, Islamic State is pursuing another rebellion in some parts of the country.

The Hazara community in Kabul has recently suffered several horrific attacks, including: At last year’s obstetrics clinicAn education center that killed 16 people, including babies, and at least 24 people in October.Islamic State with these attacks Assault on Kabul University In November, shooters killed at least 19 people.

Write to Sune Engel Rasmussen at sune.rasmussen@wsj.com

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Radicals attack Afghan schoolgirls, killing 25 in a blast

Source link Radicals attack Afghan schoolgirls, killing 25 in a blast

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