The Impact of Explosive Weapons on Education: A Case Study of Afghanistan (September 2021)



Between January 2018 and June 2021, the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) identified over 200 reported attacks on schools, school students and personnel, and higher education in Afghanistan that involved explosive weapons. These attacks injured or killed hundreds of students and educators and damaged or destroyed dozens of schools and universities.

In the first six months of 2021, more attacks on schools using explosive weapons were reported than in the first half of any of the previous three years. Explosive weapons were used in an increasing proportion of all attacks on education since 2018, with improvised explosive devices most prevalent among these attacks.
Attacks with explosive weapons also caused school closures, including when non-state armed groups used explosive weapons to target girls’ education.


• Access to education should be a priority in Afghanistan, and schools and universities, as well as their students and educators, should be protected from attack.

• State armed forces and non-state armed groups should avoid using explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas, including near schools or universities, and along routes to or from them.

• When possible, concerned parties should make every effort to collect and share disaggregated data on attacks on education involving explosive weapons, so that the impact of these attacks can be better understood, and prevention and response measures can be developed.

• GCPEA’s Toolkit for Collecting and Analyzing Data on Attacks on Education offers guidance on how to strengthen data collection on attacks on education, including attacks with explosive weapons.