Dozens of young girls have been buried in a desolate cemetery on top of a hill in Kabul, a day after a high school was attacked by the bloodiest attack in Afghanistan in more than a year.
A series of explosions outside the school on Saturday during the peak holiday shopping period killed more than 50 people, mostly students, and injured more than 100 in Dasht-e-Barchi, a suburb of west of Kabul, populated mainly by Hazara Shia.
The government blamed the Taliban for the killing, but the armed group denied responsibility and issued a statement saying the country needed to “safeguard and guard educational centers and institutions.”
Interior Ministry spokesman Tareq Arian told reporters that a car bomb detonated in front of the Sayed Al-Shuhada girls’ school on Saturday, and when students ran out of panic, two more devices exploded.
Residents shopped before this week’s Eid al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
On Sunday, relatives began burying the dead at a site on top of a hill known as the Martyrs Cemetery, where the victims of the attacks on the Hazara community are laid to rest.
Saturday’s blasts occurred as the U.S. military continues to withdraw its last 2,500 troops 20 years after it intervened militarily in the South Asian nation.
The Hazares are Shiite Muslims who have historically faced 38 million persecution in the country.
A photographer from the AFP news agency said the bodies of the wooden coffins were shot in the graves one by one by people in distress in a state of shock and fear.
“I rushed to the scene [after the blasts] and I found myself in the middle of the bodies, with my hands and head cut off and my bones shattered, “said Mohammad Taqi, a resident of Dasht-e-Barchi, whose two daughters were students at the school but who had escaped the attack.
“They were all girls. Their bodies are stacked on top of each other.
Last week students at the school had protested the lack of teachers and study materials, said Mirza Hussain, a college student in the area.
“It simply came to our notice then [in return] it was a massacre. “
Books and school bags of the victims were still scattered at the site of the attack.
Afghan officials, including President Ashraf Ghani, blamed the Taliban.
“This savage group does not have the power to confront the security forces on the battlefield and instead runs brutally and barbarically into public facilities and the girls’ school,” he said. say Ghani in a statement after the blasts.
The Taliban have denied involvement and insisted they have not carried out attacks in Kabul since February last year, when they signed an agreement with Washington that paved the way for peace talks and the withdrawal of northern troops. -remaining Americans.
But the group has clashed daily with Afghan forces in the rugged camp, even as the U.S. military reduces its presence.
The Taliban leader warns the US
The United States was supposed to withdraw all forces on May 1, as agreed with the Taliban last year, but Washington pushed back the date to September 11, an action that angered the Taliban.
The group’s leader, Haibatullah Akhunzada, reiterated in a message posted to Eid that any delay in the withdrawal of troops was a “violation” of this agreement.
“If America is to live up to its commitments again, the world must bear witness and hold America accountable for all the consequences,” Akhunzada warned in Sunday’s message.
He also said the country should “safeguard and safeguard schools and educational institutions.”
The top U.S. diplomat in Kabul, Ross Wilson, called Saturday’s blasts “unpleasant.”
“This unforgivable attack on children is an assault on the future of Afghanistan, which it cannot bear,” Wilson tweeted.
The Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood has been a regular target of attacks by armed groups.
In May last year, a group of gunmen launched a blatant raid in broad daylight at a local hospital that left 24 people dead, including 16 mothers of babies.
On October 24, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a registration center in the same district and killed 18 people in an attack claimed by the armed group ISIL (ISIS).