News ID: 324373
Published: 0315 GMT October 01, 2022

UN raises Kabul classroom bombing death toll to 35

UN raises Kabul classroom bombing death toll to 35

Afghan women display placards and chant slogans during a protest they call “Stop Hazara genocide” a day after a suicide bomb attack at Dasht-e-Barchi learning centre, in Kabul, on October 1, 2022.

The death toll of a suicide bombing on a Kabul classroom rose to 35, the UN said Saturday, as Shia Hazara women who bore the brunt of the attack staged a defiant protest against the "genocide" of their minority community.

On Friday a suicide attacker blew himself up in a Kabul study hall as hundreds of pupils were taking tests in preparation for university entrance exams in the city's Dasht-e-Barchi area, according to AFP.

The western neighbourhood is a predominantly Shia Muslim enclave and home to the minority Hazara community – a historically oppressed group that has been targeted in some of Afghanistan's most brutal attacks in recent years.

"The latest casualty figures from the attack number at least 35 fatalities, with an additional 82 wounded," the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a statement.

More than 20 of the killed were girls and women, it said.

The UN mission's casualty figure is higher than the toll Kabul authorities have given.

An Interior Ministry official told AFP anonymously on Saturday that 25 people were killed and 33 wounded in the attack on the Kaaj Higher Educational Centre – updating an earlier toll of 20 killed and 27 wounded.

Since returning to power last August, security has been a sensitive topic for the Taliban and the hardliners have often been keen to downplay attacks challenging their regime.

Meanwhile on Saturday dozens of Hazara women defied a Taliban ban on rallies to protest the latest bloodshed in their community.

Around 50 women chanted, "Stop Hazara genocide, it's not a crime to be a Shia", as they marched past a hospital in Dasht-e-Barchi where several victims of the attack were being treated.

The protesters carried banners that read: "Stop killing Hazaras", an AFP correspondent reported.

Witnesses said the suicide attacker detonated in the women's section of the gender-segregated study hall.

"Yesterday's attack was against the Hazaras and Hazara girls," protester Farzana Ahmadi, 19, told AFP.

"We demand a stop to this genocide. We staged the protest to demand our rights."

Protesters later gathered in front of the hospital and chanted slogans as dozens of heavily armed Taliban, some carrying rocket-propelled-grenade launchers, kept watch.






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