Afghanistan: Girls’ school bombing death toll reaches 85 as another blast kills 9

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The death toll of the deadly bomb attack on a girls’ school in Kabul has reached 85, Danish Hedayat, head of media for the second vice president confirmed on Monday. 147 others have been wounded in the attack that devastated the Dasht-a-Barchi neighbourhood near Kabul.

The wounds from Saturday’s devastating attacks were still fresh when another explosion rocked Afghanistan’s southern Zabul province late on Sunday night, killing 11 people. The Afghan foreign ministry confirmed that attack, saying that a roadside bomb struck a public bus on Sunday night. More than 25 people have been critically injured in the attack, a spokesperson for the province claimed.

Sunday’s attack came a day after three deadly explosions killed several dozen students in Dasth-a-Barchi, a predominantly Shia Hazara neighbourhood near Kabul. The explosions killed 25 people on the scene, but the death toll kept rising. It climbed to 40 later in the day, and now the Afghan officials have confirmed that the death toll stands at a whopping 85, with a possibility of further rising. 147 people were critically injured in the attacks.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack on girls’ school. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani blamed the Taliban, but the insurgent group denied responsibility and instead blamed the Islamic State, a Sunni militant group known for its hardline anti-Shia attitude.

Most of those killed in Saturday’s attacks were schoolgirls. The Sayed Shuhada School is a joint school for boys and girls with three shifts, the second of which occurs in the afternoon and is for girls. The students were leaving the school and heading towards their homes to break their Ramadan fast when a deafening explosion cut their journey short. The students ran around in panic when two other explosions occurred. The residents were shopping for Eid in the neighbourhood when the blasts occurred. Officials said that some pupils were so close to the blast that their bodies could not be found.

The attack attracted international condemnation. Pope Francis of Vatican called it an “inhumane act” in his remarks at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City on Sunday.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also condemned the attack and expressed his deepest sympathies to the victims’ families and the Afghan government and people.

Bodies were still being collected from the morgues when the first burials were conducted in the west of the city. Some families were still searching for their loved ones by gathering outside the hospital to read names on walls and checking morgues.

Security has been intensified across Kabul after the attack, but the authorities have said that they will not be able to offer protection to all the mosques, schools and seminaries in the city.

Families were still searching for the dead bodies of their loved ones when another attack late on Sunday night rocked the southern province of Zabul. 11 people were killed and 25 were critically wounded in the attack, including women and children who are in a critical condition.

A similar blast on Monday hit a minibus in Parwan province, killing two and wounding nine, the interior ministry said.

The attacks came after the Taliban declared a three-day ceasefire to mark this week’s Eid ul-Fitr holiday. “Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate are instructed to halt all offensive operations against the enemy countrywide from the first till the third day of Eid,” a statement released by the insurgents later on Sunday said.

“But if the enemy conducts any assault or attack against you during these days, stand ready to robustly protect and defend yourselves and your territory,” it added

SourceTBP

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