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India strongly condemns attack at Kabul educational centre, says ‘saddened’ by repeated attacks on students

The Dasht-e-Barchi attack the work of suicide bomber. At least 25 dead, over 50 injured. Part of a repeated pattern of targeting Hazara minorities.

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New Delhi: India strongly condemned the terrorist attack at Kabul’s Kaaj Educational Center in Dasht-e-Barchi Friday, a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs said.

The statement also extended condolences to the families of the victims. India also rebuked the continued targeting of students at educational institutions in Afghanistan.

The United Nations Security Council also vehemently condemned the attack. “The members of the Security Council reaffirmed the right to education for all Afghans and its contribution to the achievement of peace and security. They expressed grave concern about the significant implications of attacks against schools on the safety of students and their ability to enjoy their right to education,” a statement from the UNSC read.

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Students were taking mock-exam

According to reports, the attack in Dasht-e-Barchi was carried out by a suicide bomber and led to the death of around 25 people, mainly students. Further, 56 people were injured due to the bombing. However, some reports suggest that the death toll is far higher, possibly close to 100.

Madiha Afzal, a scholar at the Washington D.C. think-tank Brookings Institution, said that students, both male and female, had gathered to take a mock-entrance examination for university admissions at the educational centre.

The bomber allegedly first shot a guard stationed outside the educational centre, then entered a class and detonated himself. Most of the victims are also reportedly girls.

The Kaaj educational centre located in the Western part of Kabul is a private college. It provides education to both boys and girls.

Girls have been prevented from going to school since the Taliban took over power last August, leading to most schools for girls remaining closed, but a few private educational institutions have remained open.

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Targeting minority Hazara community

Most of the residents of the Dasht-e-Barchi area are from the minority Hazara community.

Hazaras are predominantly Shia Muslims and are the third largest ethnic group in Afghanistan after the Pashtuns and Tajiks, both of which follow Sunni Islam.

The Hazaras have faced persecution from the Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP), the regional affiliate of the Islamic State, and the Taliban for years.

The attacks Friday fit a larger pattern. According to Human Rights Watch, the ISKP have repeatedly targeted the Hazara community at their mosques, schools, and workplaces. Since the Taliban took over in 2021, the ISKP has taken responsibility for more than 13 attacks on the Hazara community.

Former President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, viewed the attack to be a clear conspiracy of the enemies of Afghanistan’s progress and advancement, and an expression of their fear of the firm determination of Afghanistan’s youth for education and a bright future.

A statement from the UN Secretary-General’s spokesperson declared, “Education is a fundamental right and an essential driver for sustainable peace and development. The Secretary-General reiterates his call on all parties to ensure the protection of civilians. He also calls on the de facto authorities to protect the rights of all Afghans – regardless of ethnicity or gender – to access education safely and securely.”

(Edited by Theres Sudeep)

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