Afghanistan

Afghanistan: UN Mission voices ‘deep revulsion’ over deadly bomb attack on Kabul college

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A family runs across a dusty street in Herat, Afghanistan © UNAMA/Fraidoon Poya

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has expressed “deep revulsion” at the killing on Saturday night of at least 24 people, according to latest reports, and injuring of dozens of others in a suicide attack outside an education centre.

Many of the dead and wounded were children, said UNAMA, “in a deliberate targeted attack at a Kabul college – a callous and senseless war crime”, the mission added, in messages posted to its Twitter account.

UNAMA offered its condolences to the families of those involved: “Those responsible for the crime must be held to account. Their violence must not be allowed to win. Everyone must re-double efforts to stem recent violence, especially that impacting Afghanistan’s civilians, and refocus on talks to bring about a political settlement.”

The terrorist group ISIL has reportedly said it was behind the attack on the private education facility in a largely Shia neighbourhood of the capital, a suicide attacker detonating an explosive vest, after seeking to gain entry to the college.

The Taliban has denied any involvement in the attack.

Talks stalled in Doha

The attack follows on from other violent incidents in recent weeks, some of which have been carried out by Taliban fighters, despite the start of historic peace talks involving the group and Government negotiators, a few weeks ago, in the Qatari capital Doha.

Talks are reportedly stalled as the two sides attempt to reach agreement over the rules for moving on to substantive negotiations.

The head of UNAMA and UN Special Representative for Afghanistan, Deborah Lyons, said in a tweet on Sunday that “at time when Afghans should feel hopeful, the horrific rise in violence, particularly in the last few weeks, erodes this spirit. Those responsible for the violence need to know that neither the Afghans nor their regional and international partners will let hope fade.”

Last Monday, Secretary-General António Guterres strongly condemned an indiscriminate attack on provincial police headquarters in the province of Ghor, which claimed the lives of at least 13 and injured dozens of civilians.

There have been other brutal attacks on educational facilities during the years of conflict in Afghanistan, including an attack which the ISIL terrorist group, said it carried out in August 2018, claimed close to 50 lives, most of them Kabul students studying for university entrance exams.