Afghan school blast toll rises to 58, families bury victims

Afghan school blast toll rises to 58, families bury victims

KABUL:

The death toll from an explosion outside a school in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul has risen to 58, Afghan officials said on Sunday, with doctors struggling to provide medical care to at least 150 injured.

An injured person is transported to a hospital after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 8, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

An injured person is transported to a hospital after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 8, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

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 Islamic State militants, a Sunni militant group.

Read: Blasts targeting Afghan school in Kabul kill 40, injures dozens

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 spokesperson 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.

An Afghan policeman stands guard inside a hospital, after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 8, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

An Afghan policeman stands guard inside a hospital, after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 8, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

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.

Read more: Gunmen shoot dead former news anchor in Afghanistan’s Kandahar

The violence comes a week after remaining US and NATO troops began exiting Afghanistan, with a mission to complete the drawdown by September 11, which will mark the end of America’s longest war.

An injured school girl waits for a transport from one hospital to the other, after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 8, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

An injured school girl waits for a transport from one hospital to the other, after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 8, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

But the foreign troop withdrawal has led a surge in fighting between Afghan security forces and Taliban insurgents with both sides trying to retain control over strategic centres.

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