World Death toll soars to 50 in school bombing in Afghan capital
Counting the costs of America's 20-year war in Afghanistan
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — America’s longest war, the two-decade-long conflict in Afghanistan that started in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, killed tens of thousands of people, dogged four U.S. presidents and ultimately proved unwinnable despite its staggering cost in blood and treasure. This final chapter, with President Joe Biden’s decision to pull all American troops from Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, has prompted a reckoning over the war’s lost lives and colossal expenditure.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The death toll in a horrific bombing at a girls’ school in the Afghan capital has soared to 50, many of them pupils between 11 and 15 years old, the Interior Ministry said Sunday.
The number of wounded in Saturday's attack has also climbed to more than 100, said Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian.
Afghans fear US withdrawal could stifle progress as Taliban wait in the shadows
It’s been almost two decades since the United States declared a war on terror. President Joe Biden announced withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11. Yet, the Taliban is stronger than any time since their fall in 2001. As troops return home, the group's power has raised concerns not only of terror reaching Americans at home but more so among the Afghans who are living under the group's shadow government, which controls large swaths of the country.
Three explosions outside the school entrance struck as students were leaving for the day, he said. The blasts occurred in a mostly Shiite neighborhood in the west of the capital. The Taliban denied responsibility, condemning the attack.
The first explosion came from a vehicle packed with explosives, followed by two others, said Arian, adding that the casualty figures could still rise.
In the capital rattled by relentless bombings, Saturday's attack was among the worst. Criticism has mounted over lack of security and growing fears of even more violence as the U.S. and NATO complete their final military withdrawal from Afghanistan.
U.S. troops are leaving Afghanistan, but Al Qaeda remains
As U.S. troops leave Afghanistan, efforts against a diminished Al Qaeda are in flux. Officials say the terrorist group could threaten the U.S. again.It was a tableau often seen in years past, but on this recent afternoon there was a crucial difference: The Afghans were alone, without the American forces that have backed them in a 20-year war.
The attack targeted Afghanistan's ethnic Hazaras who dominate the western Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood, where the bombings occurred. Most Hazaras are Shiite Muslims
The area has been hit by violence against minority Shiites and most often claimed by the Islamic State affiliate operating in the country. No one has yet claimed Saturday’s bombings.
The radical Sunni Muslim group has declared war on Afghanistan’s Shiites. Washington blamed IS for a vicious attack last year in a maternity hospital in the same area that killed pregnant women and newborn babies.
Afghanistan Ambassador Fears for Women Under Taliban as U.S. Troops Leave
Women's rights advocates have criticized the United States' plan to withdraw troops from Afghanistan without securing assurances from the Taliban about protections for women.Roya Rahmani, the Afghan ambassador to the U.S., said she is worried that violence in the country will "continue or even possibly escalate," which she said is likely to have a direct impact on Afghan women.
Soon after the bombing, angry crowds attacked ambulances and even beat health workers as they tried to evacuate the wounded, Health Ministry spokesman Ghulam Dastigar Nazari said. He had implored residents to cooperate and allow ambulances free access to the site.
Bloodied backpacks and schools books lay strewn outside the Syed Al-Shahda school. In the morning, boys attend classes in the sprawling school compound and in the afternoon, it's girls' turn.
Residents in the area said the explosion was deafening. Naser Rahimi told The Associated Press he heard three separate explosions, and immediately thought that the sheer power of the blasts meant the death toll would almost certainly climb.
One of the students fleeing the school recalled the attack, the girls' screams of the girls, the blood.
Bomb kills at least 30 near girls’ school in Afghan capital
The bombing killed at least 30 people, many them young pupils between 11 and 15 years old.The explosion is being investigated, said Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian who added the death toll could rise further.
“I was with my classmate, we were leaving the school, when suddenly an explosion happened, “ said 15-year-old Zahra, whose arm had been broken by a piece of shrapnel.
“Ten minutes later there was another explosion and just a couple of minutes later another explosion,” she said. “Everyone was yelling and there was blood everywhere, and I couldn’t see anything clearly.” Her friend died.
Outside the Muhammad Ali Jinnah Hospital, in the Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood dozens of people lined up to donate blood, while family members checked casualty posted lists on the walls.
Most of the dozens of injured brought to the EMERGENCY Hospital for war wounded in the Afghan capital, “almost all girls and young women between 12 and 20 years old,” said Marco Puntin, the hospital's programme coordinator in Afghanistan.
Death toll soars to 50 in school bombing in Afghan capital
Grieving families buried their dead Sunday following a horrific bombing at a girls' school in the Afghan capital that killed 50 people, many of them pupils between 11 and 15 years old. © Provided by Washington Examiner The number of wounded in Saturday’s attack climbed to more than 100, said Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian. In the western neighborhood of Dasht-e-Barchi, families buried their dead amid angry recriminations at a government they said has failed to protect them from repeated attacks in the mostly Shiite Muslim neighborhood.
In a statement following the attack, the EMERGENCY Hospital said the first three months of this year has seen a 21 per cent increase in war-wounded.
IS has previously claimed attacks against minority Shiites in the same area, last year claiming two brutal attacks on education facilities that killed 50 people, most of them students.
Even as the IS has been degraded in Afghanistan, according to government and US officials, it has stepped-up its attacks particularly against Shiite Muslims and women workers.
Earlier the group took responsibility for the targeted killing of three women media personnel in eastern Afghanistan.
The attack comes days after the remaining 2,500 to 3,500 American troops officially began leaving the country. They will be out by Sept. 11 at the latest. The pullout comes amid a resurgent Taliban, who control or hold sway over half of Afghanistan.
The top U.S. military officer said Sunday that Afghan government forces face an uncertain future and possibly some “bad possible outcomes” against Taliban insurgents as the withdrawal accelerates in the coming weeks.
Vets, lawmakers say Biden administration not acting fast enough to help Afghans who face death from Taliban
Advocates are pushing the idea of evacuating thousands of Afghans to Guam or other safe locations, where officials could vet them for U.S. resettlement.Advocates say that the Biden administration is moving far too slowly to protect tens of thousands of Afghans whose lives are in mortal danger because of their association with the U.S. and Western organizations and that action must be taken now before the last troops pull out as scheduled in four months.
Associated Press photographer Rahmat Gul and video journalist Ahmad Seir in Kabul, Afghanistan and Kathy Gannon in Islamabad, Pakistan contributed to this report.
Death toll following Afghan school bombing rises to 85 .
The number of victims who lost their lives after a bombing in Afghanistan reached 85 as of Monday. © Provided by Washington Examiner A car bomb was detonated in the Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood, in front of the Sayed al Shuhada school on Saturday, and two more bombs exploded once students rushed outside. Most of the victims who died were schoolgirls. An additional roughly 150 people were wounded in the explosions, CNN reported.