By Verity Hubbard on 26 Oct 2020
At least 24 people were killed and 57 wounded in a suicide bomb attack outside an education centre in western Kabul, Afghanistan, on 24 October.
Family members gathered at a nearby hospital, searching for missing loved ones among bags containing the remains of those killed, laid out on the hospital floor, while outside orderlies wheeled injured patients on stretchers for treatment, a Reuters witness said.
A spokesperson from the Afghan Ministry of Interior, Tariq Arian, said that the explosion happened in an alleyway leading to an educational centre called Kawsar e Danish, in a predominantly Shia neighbourhood. The perpetrator was stopped before he could enter the centre and detonated the explosives at the entrance.
Islamic State has since claimed responsibility for the attack. While the group’s stronghold in eastern Afghanistan has been dismantled, Islamic State remains a threat in urban centres. The Shia community in Afghanistan has previously been targeted by Sunni Muslim extremists such as Islamic State, which views Shia Islam as heretical.
United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) issued a statement expressing its “deep revulsion” at the incident, describing it as a “war crime”.
This attack comes after a period of relative calm in Kabul. Though there has been an intensification of violence elsewhere across the country as peace talks are ongoing between the Taliban and the Afghan government.
Figures by Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission suggest that in the first six months of 2020, nearly 3,000 civilians were killed or injured in 880 different security incidents (1,213 killed, 1,744 injured) such as landmine blasts, aerial raids, and ground offensives between rival parties of the conflict.
Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) records casualties (i.e. people killed and injured) from explosive violence around the world as reported in English-language news sources.
In 2019 AOAV recorded that, some 3,596 civilians were killed or injured by IEDs in Afghanistan. In the first six months of 2020, some 622 civilians were harmed.