A suicide bombing at a tuition center in Kabul, Afghanistan killed at least 19 people and injured 30 others Friday, authorities said.
Nearly 300 high school graduates had arrived at the Kaaj Higher Educational Center in the majority-Shiite Dashti Barchi neighborhood to take practice university exams when the bomb exploded, the Washington Post reported.
The attacker reportedly shot the guards outside of the building, entered a classroom and set off the bomb, BBC News reported. Police arrested a suspect who they believe is tied to the attack.
Shafi Akbary, a 19-year-old survivor of the attack, said the students heard gunshots at the main gate which led everyone in the building to attempt escape in different directions, according to the Post. Moments later, an explosion went off in the center.
“I was so afraid and couldn’t even move myself to help them. Later, other people ran inside and took us out,” he said.
The Emergency NGO Hospital in Kabul said 22 patients were admitted at Emergency’s Surgical Centre for War Victims as of Friday. 20 are women between the ages of 18 to 25, according to the hospital’s press release. One person was pronounced dead on arrival and another died after being admitted.
More details here: https://t.co/KX4IEPYDXQ
— EMERGENCY NGO (@emergency_ngo) September 30, 2022
One victim killed in the attack was Husnia Azimi, who left home Friday to take the exam despite her sister pleading with her to stay home, the Post reported.
“Once she left, it was around 09:00 a.m. that we heard about the explosion,” her sister, Zainab, said. “We didn’t hear its sound, but once we got the news, we went to all the hospitals, Ali Jinnah hospital, Watan hospital, and other hospitals. But when we went to the Emergency Hospital, we got a call from Ali Jinnah hospital that my sister’s dead body was found. Then we went back there and saw her body.”
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Islamic State group has been waging violence against the Taliban since their takeover in August 2021, the Post reported. Hazaras, mostly Shiite Muslims, are frequent targets of these outsider groups. (RELATED: Kabul Airport Bombings Mark Third Deadliest Day For US Troops In Afghanistan War)
The local police chief, Abdul Rahman Nafiz, said the Taliban did not know that an exam or any other function had taken place inside the building.
“Neither police officials nor intelligence officials were aware of any activity going on or a big exam happening in this center, so the officials from the center were very reckless,” he said. “Now our mujaheddin (Taliban police) are here, and they are investigating the incident.”
Amnesty International’s South Asia campaigner, Samira Hamidi, also criticized the Taliban for taking little steps to protect the public against these attacks, the outlet reported.