School Girls Targeted in Kabul School Bombing

 

 

Kabul, Afghanistan-

On May 18th at about 4 pm multiple bombs were set off at a girls school in Kabul, the students being the targets. The death toll has reached at least 85 so far with another 147 wounded. The majority of those killed were school girls. Though quickly blamed for the attack, the Taliban has denied responsibility and as of now no one has claimed that responsibility.  The reaction from the friends and family of the victims is that of anger, fear and sorrow as they bury their daughters, sisters, and friends.

A large group of civilians have put a great amount of blame on the government for not providing proper protection for the community mostly made up of members of the Shiite Hazara, a group frequently targeted by militant groups in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. Hussain Ali, who lost his teenage cousin in the bombing said ¨We told them so many times that something would happen, but we never got any help from the authorities¨. This is not the first time a school has been targeted in Kabul. Just last year in 2020 a Kabul University was attacked by three gunmen, killing 32 people. While attacks are nothing new to the community, the fact that school girls from poor families were targeted for their attempts to get an education strikes grief and disbelief in the hearts of many. A large number of people fear more attacks in the future as US and NATO troops are on the way to complete withdrawal from Afghanistan by September 11th of this year. 

The first explosion occurred when a car bomb was set off in front of the school, then when the students began running out in panic and people came out to see what was happening, the other bombs were detonated. Many girls were unable to be found as they were too close to the blast when it occurred, preventing some families the opportunity to even bury their daughters. Although members of the community are in the middle of mourning, they still remain strong in the face of adversity. Mukhatar, the 20 year old brother of one of the students killed in the attack, believes that the situation will worsen when US troops leave Afghanistan. Despite this he tells reporters ¨We want everyone to enroll their children in schools, and show them that they can not prevent us from education”. Even the victims themselves handled the situation bravely and with determination to continue their education. Tahira Hassani, 17, whose legs were badly injured in the blasts said ¨I hope my legs will get better so I can walk again. I will continue my studies. I want to become a prosecutor. This country is full of injustice and I want to fix that¨. 

A three day ceasefire has been announced by the Taliban in response to recent attacks, including the school bombing, and to mark the end of Ramdan and the Muslim holiday of Eid. A Taliban spokesperson saying the pause was to secure a ¨peaceful and secure atmosphere¨. The Taliban was the first one to be blamed for the attack on the girls school, the Afgan president quickly accusing them of the deadly bombing. However, a spokesperson for the group quickly denied the accusation and condemned attacks on civilians.