Fears of more violence are growing in Afghanistan as the remaining U.S. and NATO forces begin to withdraw a week ago. That fear seemed immediately confirmed. At least 68 people were killed and more than 165 injured in a series of explosions near a school in The Afghan capital Kabul on Monday afternoon, most of them girls aged between 11 and 15, according to reports.
The blast occurred in an area of western Kabul populated by Hazaras, members of the Shiite Muslim minority. The target school has separate classes for boys and girls, and the explosion occurred as female students were leaving school in the afternoon. There were three explosions at the school gate, the first from a car packed with explosives, followed by two other explosions, said Interior Ministry spokesman Mohammad Alian.
Families gathered outside the hospital, poring over names posted on the wall and inspecting the morgue in a desperate search for their missing children. Many were so badly disfigured in the blast that they were hard to identify. “I rushed to the scene and found myself standing among the bodies, their hands and heads were broken and their bones were smashed,” mourned Mohammed Thaci, a local resident.
Rahmatullah Rafat, who lost her sister in the bombing, told Alopah: “She had many dreams. When I think of her and her dreams, my heart burns and aches. And now she’s buried in the ground with her dreams, leaving our broken hearts behind.”
The Afghan government and western powers have been blamed for failing to bring the violence and ongoing war to an end. Shortly after the blast, an angry crowd attacked ambulances and even beat medical staff, said Health Ministry spokesman Nazari. Mohammad Bazir, who lost his niece in the blast, said angrily, “The government only reacts after the event and does nothing before it happens.”
“We have been carrying the bodies of young men and women to a cemetery all night and praying for everyone who was injured in this attack,” asks Ali, who is helping families at a private hospital. Why not just kill us all and end this war?” So far, no group or individual has claimed responsibility for the attack. Although the Afghan government immediately charged them, the Taliban denied the allegations and said the attack was most likely carried out by Islamic State militants.
French news agency AGence France-Presse noted that U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan began withdrawing their troops a week ago, and the withdrawal is expected to be completed by September 11, bringing an end to America’s longest war. But the withdrawal of foreign troops has led to a surge in fighting between Afghan security forces and Taliban insurgents as both sides try to retain control of the strategic center.
Meanwhile, The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General John Miller, said on Monday that the US military has increased the number of heavy bombers and fighter jets to protect US and coalition forces from withdrawal from Afghanistan, which have so far not been under direct attack, Radio France Internationale reported. True, U.S. forces are prepared to prevent direct attacks, but the Afghan government and civilians are more at risk.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying also pointed out at a press briefing that the recent us sudden withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan has led to a series of bombings and attacks in many parts of the country, and the security situation is becoming increasingly severe, posing a serious threat to peace and stability and people’s lives in Afghanistan. China calls on the foreign troops in Afghanistan to take into account the security of the Afghan and regional people, withdraw in a responsible way and avoid bringing more instability and suffering to the Afghan people.
Hazara areas of Kabul have been hit by a series of attacks, mostly by Islamic State militants. In 2018, a school bombing killed 34 people. That same year, 24 people were killed in an attack on a wrestling club. In May 2020, a maternity hospital was targeted, resulting in the deaths of 24 people, including pregnant women and infants.