An explosive attack at a religious school in Aybak city in Afghanistan’s Samangan province on Wednesday, November 30 has killed at least 19 people. Among the dead are mostly madrassa students. 25 others are reported to have received injuries in the blast.
The attack has triggered sharp condemnation from officials. “Our detective and security forces are working quickly to identify the perpetrators of this unforgivable crime and punish them for their actions,” Interior Ministry spokesman Abdul Nafay Takor said.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has stated that at least 20 of the victims are children. “We express our deep sympathies to all the victims and families impacted. Investigation and accountability needed,” the international rights body noted.
UNAMA has several times asked Taliban authorities to ensure greater security to students in the region and ensure that such attacks do not target education centers.
At least 20 children were among the 19 people were killed & 23 injured by yesterday’s IED blast in a madrassa in Aybak, Afghanistan, according to @UNAMAnews @UNICEF urges all parties in Afghanistan to do everything they can to always keep children safe. https://t.co/Orj3dAV7Bf
— Joe English (@JoeEEnglish) December 1, 2022
Condemning the attack, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of High Council for National Conciliation, tweeted that “targeting schools, universities, madrasa and education institutions is a heinous crime and should stop immediately.”
While no one has yet taken responsibility for the attack, graphic images of its effects have been widely shared across social media, showing shattered glass, prayer mats, and debris-littered streets.
This is not the first time students have become a target in Afghanistan. Earlier in September, at least 54 people, mostly girls, were killed when two improvised explosives were detonated in western Kabul’s education center. Prior to that, two other explosions at a boys’ school in April killed six and injured 20.