At least six people have been killed and 11 injured in two bomb attacks at a boys’ school in the Afghan capital, with social media showing gruesome images of the Hazara Shia neighborhood.
The number of bombings in the country has dropped significantly since the Taliban overthrew the US-backed Afghan government in August last year, but the jihadist group Islamic State has claimed responsibility for several attacks since then.
Kabul police spokesman Khalid Zadran told AFP Tuesday’s blasts at the Abdul Rahim Shahid school were caused by improvised explosive devices and left at least six people dead and 11 injured.
“These are preliminary figures. We are on site and awaiting further details,” he said.
Zadran said there was a third explosion at an English-language center in the same area, but did not say whether it was caused by an explosive.
Zadran had earlier tweeted that three explosions had rocked the school, which is in an area inhabited mainly by the Hazara community and has previously been targeted by the jihadist group Islamic State.
Tuesday’s blasts occurred as students were leaving their morning classes at school, a witness told AFP. Grisly images posted on social media showed several bodies lying outside the gate and inside the school grounds. Footage showed bloodstains, burnt books and schoolbags strewn around the premises. Taliban fighters were seen cordoning off the area.
The victims were taken to hospital, but Taliban fighters kept journalists away.
Attacks on public targets have largely declined since the Taliban took power, but IS continues to operate across the country.
The Taliban have previously been accused of attacks targeting the Hazara community, which accounts for 10-20% of the country’s 38 million people.
Taliban officials insist their forces have defeated IS, but analysts say the jihadist group is a major security challenge for the hardline Islamists who rule Afghanistan.
Since taking power, the Taliban have regularly carried out raids on suspected IS hideouts, mainly in the eastern province of Nangarhar.
IS has claimed some of the deadliest attacks in Afghanistan in recent years. In May last year, at least 85 people – mostly female students – were killed and around 300 injured when three bombs exploded near their school in Dasht-e-Barchi.
No group has claimed responsibility, but in October 2020 IS claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on an education center in the same area that killed 24 people, including students.
In May 2020, the group was blamed for a bloody attack on a maternity ward in a neighborhood hospital that left 25 dead.