Explosive violence in Afghanistan

Many students killed and wounded in explosions outside a boys’ school in Kabul, Afghanistan

At least six people have been killed and 11 others wounded, including students, in a suspected twin suicide bombing outside a boys’ school in western Kabul.

Two IEDs were detonated outside Abdul Rahim Shahid high school, located in the predominantly Hazara neighbourhood of Dasht-e-Barchi, while students were leaving their morning classes. Casualties are expected to rise, as the severely wounded become the dead and official numbers of those injured in the attack are announced.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, though the Islamic State and other Sunni militant groups have frequently targeted Shia Hazara communities in Afghanistan.

In May last year (2021) three bombs went off outside a girls’ school in Dasht-e-Barchi, killing at least 95 people and wounding 240 more, many of whom were young students.

Attacks on civilians and public spaces have seen a decline since the Taliban gained power in Afghanistan in August 2021, but branches of the Islamic State continue to operate in the country and have carried out a number of high casualty attacks.

In October last year, the Islamic State claimed two separate suicide attacks at mosques, two of the highest civilian casualty incidents of explosive violence recorded in the country, after the bombing of the girls’ school in Dasht-e-Barchi and the explosions at Kabul’s international airport during the August evacuations. The first incident in October targeted the Said Abad Shia mosque in Kunduz city, and killed at least 50 and wounded 100 more. A week later, an ISKP suicide attack on the Bibi Fatima mosque in Kandahar killed at least 63 people and wounded 93 others.

Kabul has seen an uptick in explosive violence targeting civilians in April 2022. Earlier this month, on 6 April, six people were wounded when a grenade was thrown into the Pul-e-Khisti mosque in the busy neighbourhood of Kabul. Three days prior, one person was killed and at least 10 injured in a grenade blast in the city’s largest money exchange market. Both attacks were unclaimed.

Since the beginning of 2022, AOAV has recorded 106 civilian casualties from explosive weapon use in Afghanistan, 28 of whom were killed and 78 injured. Last year, 2021, Afghanistan as the worst affected country in terms of civilian casualties of explosive weapons.

For more AOAV data on explosive violence in Afghanistan, see our Explosive Violence Monitor 2021, and hotspot page focussing on Afghanistan.