Read caption A group of students in NRC's class in Rodad District, Nangarhar. Photo: Enayatullah Azad/NRC

Afghanistan attack targets Kabul classroom with 600 children inside

Published 19. Mar 2018
Eleven students were injured when an attacker detonated explosives in a classroom in Kabul on Sunday. “As inhumane as this cowardly attack is, we continue to see similar attacks on schools. Afghanistan’s children are becoming innocent victims of the escalating conflict,” said NRC’s country director in Afghanistan, Christopher Nyamandi.

The explosion occurred on the private-run Kawsar school in Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul on Sunday morning. Around 15,000 girls and boys currently study at the school. The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) is present in the same area supporting displaced Afghans.

 “The attacker was wearing an explosive vest and was carrying hand grenades. Before exploding his explosive vest, he tried to hurl a hand grenade from the door step of a classroom but the grenade went off in his hand and killed him,” said Hussain Ali Sultanfar, a teacher at the school. “When the students heard the sound of the explosion, everyone ran away, and some of the students got injured escaping the scene. This was one of our special classes with 600 students in class,” Ali added.

Although no group has accepted responsibility for the attack, three months ago the Islamic State group claimed responsibility of an attack on a Shia cultural and religious school some five kilometers away from yesterday’s attack.

“Whoever these are, they can’t stop us from learning and promoting education in the county, however should attacks such as this continue, parents may withdraw their children from our famous education center,” Ali said.  

International Humanitarian Law forbids attacks on educational institutions by armed groups or military forces. Educational facilities must be protected in armed conflict in the same way as healthcare facilities.

Facts:

 

  • The Government of Afghanistan endorsed the Oslo Safe Schools Declaration in a meeting hosted by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 29 May 2015, along with 36 other States. To date, 59 states are signatories to the declaration.
  • The number of people displaced due to conflict has increased in Afghanistan over the past five years. From 1 January 2018 to 2 March 2018, some 34,000 people fled their homes due to the conflict.
  • NRC supported the education of over 100,000 Afghan boys and girls affected by conflict and emergency in 2017, including 10,000 in the Eastern region. This work is primarily funded by the EU, Norway and Sweden.
  • NRC assisted over 336,000 displaced people in Afghanistan through its programmes in 2017, which include legal assistance, shelter, and emergency education.

 

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