Afghan Hazara women protest against Kabul blast
Kabul: A number of women from Afghanistan's minority Hazara community on Saturday protested in Kabul against the terror attack at the Kaaj Educational Center that resulted in 60 deaths and injuries to several others, many of whom were students.
The women protestors dressed in black chanted slogans against the genocide of minorities and demanded their rights, Pajhwok Afghan News reported. Friday's blast follows many recent attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure across Afghanistan, including in religious minority communities.
Families of victims and local residents raised security concerns and called on the Taliban to ensure the safety of the public and punish those responsible after the ghastly attack at an education centre in Kabul left 60 persons dead.
Kabul Police spokesperson Khalid Zadran told CNN that the explosion occurred at the Kaaj education centre at 7:30 am local time. The blast occurred in the 13th security area of Kabul, Taliban spokesperson Abdul Nafee Takour was quoted as saying by TOLO news.
UNICEF said this "heinous act" claimed the lives of dozens of adolescent girls and boys and severely injured many more.
India condemned the terror attack on Saturday. External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, "We are saddened by yesterday's terror attack at the Kaaj Educational Center in Dasht-e-Barchi, Kabul and extend our condolences to the families of the victims. Indian strongly condemns the continued targeting of innocent students at educational places."
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres deplored the heinous attack on the Kabul educational centre - a predominately Hazara Shia area - which caused scores of casualties.
He also extended his condolences to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured. "Education is a fundamental right and an essential driver for sustainable peace and development," he said.
The UN Security Council (UNSC), while condemning the terrorist attack, reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security.
The members of the Security Council underlined the need to hold perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism accountable and bring them to justice.
US Charge d'Affaires Karen Decker was also quick to condemn the barbarous attack on the education centre and said that all students should be able to pursue education in peace and without fear.
Calling the attack a shameful act of terror, the US Charge d'Affaires tweeted, "The U.S. strongly condemns today's attack on the Kaaj Higher Educational Center. Targeting a room full of students taking exams is shameful; all students should be able to pursue an education in peace and without fear."
In a recent report by Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP) repeatedly attacked Hazaras and other religious minorities at their mosques, schools, and workplaces. While the Taliban have done little to protect these minority communities from suicide bombings and other unlawful attacks from the Islamic State's (ISIS) affiliate in Afghanistan.
Since the Taliban seized power in August last year, the IS has claimed responsibility for 13 attacks against Hazaras and has been linked to at least 3 more, killing and injuring at least 700 people.
According to HRW, the Hazara are a predominantly Shia Muslim ethnic group that have faced discrimination and abuse by successive Afghan governments for over a century. During the 1990s, Taliban forces targeted the Shia for mass killings and other serious abuses. With the Taliban back in power, the Hazara have been increasingly concerned for their safety and whether the new authorities will protect them. (ANI)