Suicide bombing, carried out by IS, at Kabul education centre kill 18 while a roadside bomb attack allegedly by Taliban kill 9
A suicide bombing at an education centre in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul killed at least 18 people and wounded dozens more on Saturday, reports Reuters citing officials.
A Ministry of Interior spokesman, Tariq Arian, cited security guards as identifying a bomber who detonated explosives in the street outside the Kawsar-e Danish educational centre.
Eighteen people were killed and 57 were injured in the attack, according to the interior ministry.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for the bombing, the group said in a statement on Telegram, without providing evidence.
A Taliban spokesman on Twitter denied responsibility for the attack, which comes at a sensitive time as teams representing the insurgents and the government meet in Qatar to seek a peace deal.
The attack took place in an area of west Kabul that is home to many from the country’s Shia community, a religious minority in Afghanistan targeted by groups such as Islamic State in the past.
Dozens of students died in the same area of Kabul in an attack on another education centre in 2018, while in May gunmen attacked a maternity ward, killing 24, including mothers and babies.
The latest attack comes on the back of heavy fighting in multiple provinces in recent weeks, which has displaced thousands of civilians in southern Helmand province.
“How much more can we endure, as individuals and as society? How many times can we rise?” asked Shaharzad Akbar, the chairperson of Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission on Twitter, saying the targeting of civilians was a war crime.
9 others killed
A roadside bomb tore through a passenger bus east of the Afghan capital on Saturday, killing nine civilians, reported AFP citing officials, in the latest attack blamed on the Taliban.
Violence on the ground has spiked in recent weeks despite the Taliban and Afghan government holding peace talks in Qatar to end the country's grinding war.
The bomb struck the bus at around 10:30 am when it was travelling from Kabul to the eastern city of Ghazni, Waheedullah Jumazada, spokesman for Ghazni governor told AFP.
"Nine civilians including three women were killed in the explosion," he said.
Four policemen were also wounded, Ghazni police spokesman Adam Khan Seerat said, blaming the Taliban for the attack.
Despite joining peace talks with the government last month, the Taliban have only increased violence in a bid to wield leverage in the negotiations.
The top US envoy to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, said earlier this week that fighting is threatening the peace process.
On Friday, rights group Amnesty International said at least 50 people had been killed in attacks just in the preceding week, accusing the warring sides of failing to protect civilians.
"The world must sit up and take notice. Afghan civilians are being slaughtered on a daily basis," said Omar Waraich, Head of South Asia at Amnesty International.
"The international community must make the protection of civilians a core demand for their ongoing support of the peace process."
Afghan authorities also faced criticism this week after 11 children were killed in an air strike by the military that hit a mosque in the northeastern province of Takhar on Wednesday.
The authorities in Kabul insist that those killed were Taliban fighters operating in that area.