The death toll from a bomb near a girls’ school in Kabul has risen to 58, mostly students aged between 11 and 15, who were killed as they left to go home.
The death toll from an explosion outside a school in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul has risen to 58, with doctors struggling to provide medical care to at least 150 injured.
The bombing on Saturday evening shook the city’s Shi’ite Muslim neighbourhood of Dasht-e-Barchi. The community, a religious minority in Afghanistan, has been targeted in the past by so-called Islamic State militants.
An eyewitness told Reuters all but seven or eight of the victims were schoolgirls going home after finishing studies.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday blamed the attack on Taliban insurgents but a spokesman for the Taliban denied involvement, saying the group condemns any attacks on Afghan civilians.
Families of the victims blamed the Afghan government and Western powers for failing to put an end to violence and the ongoing war.
Bodies were still being collected from morgues as the first burials were conducted in the west of the city.
Some families were still searching for missing relatives on Sunday, gathering outside hospitals to read names posted on the walls, and checking morgues.
“The entire night we carried bodies of young girls and boys to a graveyard and prayed for everyone wounded in the attack,” said Mohammed Reza Ali, who has been helping families of the victims at a private hospital.
“Why not just kill all of us to put and end to this war?” he said.
The violence comes a week after remaining US and NATO troops began exiting Afghanistan, with a mission to complete the drawdown by 11 September, which will mark the end of America’s longest war.
But the foreign troop withdrawal has led to a surge in fighting between Afghan security forces and Taliban insurgents with both sides trying to retain control over strategic centres.
Washington’s top diplomat in Afghanistan, Ross Wilson, condemned the attack in a post on Twitter: “With scores murdered, this unforgivable attack on children is an assault on Afghanistan’s future, which cannot stand.”
Neighbouring Pakistan, which has considerable influence over the Taliban and is pushing them to restart peace talks and agree to a ceasefire, also condemned the attack.
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