Monday Jul 01, 2019
Pakistani Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai on Monday condemned the "terrible attack on schoolchildren" in Kabul that left six people dead and at least 50 kids wounded.
On Twitter, she wrote: "A terrible attack on schoolchildren and others in #Kabul today. A reminder that leaders have much more work to do for education, peace and stability.
"Children should be safe at school," she implored, quoting a June 11 tweet from Malala Fund wherein she had talked about how girls’ education in Afghanistan was under attack.
"Militants are afraid of the next generation of educated girls — but together, we can break down the barriers girls face," she had written, adding a link to helping girls in Afghanistan and around the world.
Earlier today, it was reported that at least 50 children were among nearly 100 people wounded when the Taliban detonated a powerful car bomb in an area of Kabul housing military and government buildings.
The rush-hour blast, which sent a plume of smoke into the air and shook buildings nearly two kilometres (1.2 miles) away, was followed by gunmen storming a building and triggering a gun battle with special forces in the Puli Mahmood Khan neighbourhood of the Afghan capital.
The education ministry had said in a statement that among the wounded were 50 children, most of whom had been hurt by flying glass and were in stable condition.
Some social media images purportedly taken at a hospital showed wounded, stunned children in school uniforms, still clutching books as they arrived for treatment.
In its statement, the education ministry said five schools had been partially damaged, and asked "all sides involved in fighting to guarantee the safety of students, teachers, education workers and schools".
The Taliban claimed the attack, which came just two days after the insurgents began the seventh round of talks with the US in Qatar as Washington eyes a breakthrough before Afghanistan's September presidential election.
Militant spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said the insurgents had targeted a defence ministry building in the area, which was quickly blocked off by Afghan forces and ambulances, with helicopter gunships seen overhead as gunfire continued.
Afghan interior ministry spokesperson Nasrat Rahimi said the area was cordoned off by special forces who were "bringing down" the attackers, with at least two killed.
"Security forces also rescued 210 civilians from buildings nearby," he said.
AFP reporters could hear gunshots and multiple smaller explosions as fighting continued nearly seven hours after the first blast.
"We were sitting inside the office when the world turned upside down on us," Zaher Usman, an employee at a branch of the culture ministry, which he said stands just 150 metres (yards) from the blast.