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'Picked up human body parts...': Teacher after blast at Afghan exam centre

Sep 30, 2022 03:46 PM IST

Kabul bomb blast: This is the deadliest attack in Afghanistan since a blast ripped through a mosque in the western Herat province earlier this month.

A suicide bomber targeted an education centre in a Shiite area of Kabul Friday, killing 19 people and wounding 27, Khalid Zadran - a Taliban-appointed spokesman for the Afghan capital's police chief - told Bloomberg.

Relatives and medical staff shift a wounded girl from an ambulance outside a hospital in Kabul on September 30, 2022, following a blast at a learning centre in the Dasht-e-Barchi area of Afghanistan's capital. (Photo by AFP)

Many of those dead are high school graduates at the Kaaj Higher Educational Center to help prep for college entrance exams, Zadran said over the phone.

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Unconfirmed reports circulating online put the death toll at over 100 - many of them children. Afghan journalist Bilal Sarwary tweeted horrifying videos of the carnage and quoted a member of the education centre: "We have so far counted 100 dead bodies of our students... number of students killed is much higher."

"I picked up human body parts... picked up hands and legs. That was all left (of) my former students," Sarwary quoted one of the instructors in his tweet.

The attack took place early this morning as a mock university entrance exam was being conducted in Kabul's Dashti Barchi neighborhood - which is populated mostly by members of Afghanistan’s minority Shiite community.

An eyewitness - 19-year-old Shafi Akbary - told the Associated Press around 300 students had been called for an early morning practice exam.

"First, we heard the sounds of a few gunshots at the main gate. Everyone was worried and tried to run to a different direction. Soon after that, a huge explosion occurred inside the center,” he told AP over the phone.

Akbary - fortunately unharmed - said he saw dozens of bodies scattered.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far; this is the deadliest since a blast ripped through a mosque in Herat province earlier this month.

AP said 18 were killed, including a pro-Taliban cleric, and 21 wounded.

The Islamic State - seen as the Taliban's chief rival since the takeover of Afghanistan in August last year - has the Dashti Barchi area in the past.

In 2020 a bloody attack on a maternity hospital killed 24, including babies.

The United States has condemned the attack. "Targeting a room full of students taking exams is shameful; all students should be able to pursue an education in peace & without fear," the US' chargé d’affaires, Karen Decker, tweeted.

The United Nations has also condemned the attack, emphasising that violence in or around educational establishments is never acceptable.

Attack in Pakistan

Twenty people were injured after a bomb blast at a shop in a market in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province, police said. The attack happened at a sweets shop in the Kohlu district, a senior police official told news agency PTI.

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