Afghan school blast toll rises to 58, families bury victims

People bury victims of a series of blasts near a school in Kabul which killed more than 50 people

The incident took place on Saturday afternoon after a vehicle bomb explosion outside Sayed-ul-Shuhada High School was followed by two rocket attacks.

Afghan men try to identify the dead bodies at a hospital after a bomb explosion near a school west of Kabul in Afghanistan.

The head of the country's 24/7 news channel TOLOnews TV shared a photo from the scene of the explosion.

It happened in the Kabul district of Dasht-e-Barchi, where gunmen killed 16 people in a hospital maternity ward one year ago.

The local branch of Islamic State group has lost territory in what was once its eastern Afghanistan stronghold, after offensives by both the Taliban and U.S. forces.

The neighbourhood in western Kabul where the blasts occurred is home to many from the Hazara minority community, who are of Mongolian and Central Asian descent and are mainly Shia Muslims.

Mr. Arian's deputy Hamid Roshan told AFP that an investigation had begun into the explosion, adding that casualties included students.

At least 58 people, majority schoolgirls, were killed after multiple blasts tore through crowds of students leaving a west Kabul school.

In May past year a group of gunmen attacked a hospital in the area in a brazen daylight raid that left 25 people killed, including 16 mothers of new-born babies.

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No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, and Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid told reporters in a message that only ISIS could be responsible for such a heinous crime.

One of the students fleeing the school recalled the attack. the screaming of the girls and the blood. President Ghani blamed the Taliban.

Mr Ghani said: "The Taliban, by escalating their illegitimate war and violence, have once again shown that they are not only reluctant to resolve the current crisis peacefully and fundamentally, but are complicating the situation".

Under the agreement, Washington was to pull out troops in exchange for Taliban security guarantees and for the group to start peace talks with the Afghan government.

It is noted that May 1, 2021 marks a deadline agreed upon by Taliban and the United States in February 2020 for the latter to terminate its 20-year military presence in the country.

Washington has ordered USA troops in Afghanistan to pull out by September 11, exactly 20 years after the terrorist attacks on the US.

Taliban attacks on foreign forces have largely ceased, but they continue to target government forces.

Last week the school's students had protested about a lack of teachers and study materials, said Mirza Hussain, a university student from the area. Naser Rahimi told The Associated Press he heard three separate explosions. Rahimi also said he believed that the sheer power of the explosion meant the death toll would nearly certainly climb.

In Dasht-i-Brachia, angry crowds attacked the ambulances and even beat health workers as they tried to evacuate the wounded, Health Ministry spokesman Ghulam Dastigar Nazari said. He implored residents to co-operate and allow ambulances free access to the site.

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