Blast Outside School Kills at Least 40 in Afghanistan

Afghanistan: Multiple blasts at a school in the Afghan capital Kabul on Saturday killed at least 40 people and wounded dozens more, mostly female students, officials said, in an attack Afghan President Ashraf Ghani blamed on the insurgent Taliban.

A senior interior ministry official told Reuters on condition of anonymity that most of the casualties were students coming out of the Sayed ul Shuhada school.

Footage on TV channel Tolo News showed chaotic scenes outside the school, with books and school bags strewn across a bloodstained road, and residents rushing to help victims.

At a nearby hospital, staff wheeled in injured students while dozens of distressed relatives searched desperately for their sons and daughters, according to a Reuters witness.

A spokesman for the interior ministry, Tariq Arian, put the death toll at least 30 and injured at 52 but did not specify the cause or the target.
 

Kabul is on high alert since Washington announced plans last month to pull out all U.S. troops by Sept. 11, with Afghan officials saying the Taliban have stepped up attacks across the country following the announcement.

No group has claimed responsibility for Saturday’s attack. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid denied the group was involved and condemned the incident.

Saturday’s explosions took place in western Kabul, a heavily Shi’ite Muslim neighbourhood that has frequently been attacked by Islamic State militants over the years.

The school is a joint high school for girls and boys, who study in three shifts, the second of which is for female students, Najiba Arian, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Education, told Reuters.

The wounded are mostly female students, she said.

“The horrendous attack in Dasht-i Barchi area in Kabul, is a despicable act of terrorism,” the European Union’s mission in Afghanistan said on Twitter.

“Targeting primarily students in a girls’ school, makes this an attack on the future of Afghanistan.”