At Least 25 Killed In Kabul Bombing That Targeted Afghan Schoolgirls
Afghanistan stands on the brink of renewed chaos after a week of fresh fighting, following US troops staying past the May 1st exit deadline that had previously been agreed to under a Trump administration-Taliban deal inked in February 2020. Biden earlier announced an extension as well as a full and final planned withdrawal by Sept.11, which Taliban leaders have blasted as a serious breach of hard-fought terms, leading to threats of making things a “nightmare” for remaining Americans. So far this past week has seen fierce clashes between Taliban and national Afghan forces mainly in remote provinces, resulting in dozens killed on both sides.
But on Saturday suspected Sunni terrorist groups (whether Islamic State or the Taliban or others) carried out a string of bombings targeting the country’s Shia minority. The Wall Street Journal details that “Militants killed at least 25 people in three explosions targeting girls outside a school in a predominantly Shiite neighborhood in Kabul, officials said, in an attack that could exacerbate sectarian tensions ahead of the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan.”
Recent months have witnessed a number of similarly sectarian-driven attacks in the Dasht-e Barchi area of west Kabul, which is dominated by the Shiite Hazara community, but this latest tragedy appears to be the highest death toll, after prior bombings stretching back to October has left dozens of civilians dead, including children.
Early reports suggest a car bomb was used in the attack, however it remains unclear whether it was a suicide attack or an IED detonated remotely, with no group claiming responsibility in the immediate aftermath. One top Taliban official issued a quick statement condemning the attack, however, leading security officials to look at the Islamic State in Afghanistan.
“In the past, Islamic State’s regional affiliate, which considers Shiites to have rejected Islam, usually took credit for attacks targeting Shiite civilians,” the WSJ report explains.
— Waheed Faizi (@imWaheedFaizi) May 8, 2021
The report notes further that “While the Taliban harshly oppressed the Hazaras when the movement ruled most of Afghanistan in the 1990s, the Taliban now say they tolerate the Shiite minority. A Taliban spokesman tweeted to condemn Saturday’s attack, accusing Islamic State of being behind it.“
Sat, 05/08/2021 – 13:09