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Multiple blasts hit Kabul high school killing at least 6; more casualties feared

Nobody has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but western Kabul has previously been a target of the so-called "Islamic State" (IS) due to its large number of Shia Hazara residents

FPJ Web Desk | Updated on: Tuesday, April 19, 2022, 01:12 PM IST

The two blasts reportedly left at least 6 dead and dozens injured, with fears that the death toll could rise | Twitter/@mujeeb_dastyar
The two blasts reportedly left at least 6 dead and dozens injured, with fears that the death toll could rise | Twitter/@mujeeb_dastyar
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Three explosions rocked a high school in western Kabul on Tuesday, killing several people, according to Afghan security and health officials.

Many residents in the neighbourhood belong to the Shia Hazara community, an ethnic and religious minority frequently targeted by Sunni militant groups, including Islamic State.

"Three blasts have taken place ... in a high school, there are some casualties to our Shia people," said Khalid Zadran, the spokesman for Kabul's commander.

At least 6 people were killed, with dozens feared injured. It is feared that the death toll could rise substantially.

The explosions targeted a training center and the Abdul Rahim Shahid high school in the western Dasht-i-Barchi area of Kabul.

Afghan news channel Tolo news said that the Ministry of Interior had confirmed the blasts at the school and had launched an investigation.

Khalid Zadran, police spokesperson for the Taliban in Kabul, wrote on Twitter that the attack had "caused injuries to our Shia compatriots."

Zadran added that there were casualties.

Nobody has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but western Kabul has previously been a target of the so-called "Islamic State" (IS) due to its large number of Shia Hazara residents.

The Taliban and the Islamic State have engaged in clashes over the control of territory, mostly in eastern Afghanistan, but clashes have also occurred between the Taliban and the Islamic State's cells which are located in the north-west and south-west.

During the Taliban insurgency, in January 2015, IS established itself in Khorasan and formed Islamic State - Khorasan Province (IS-K). The main objective of IS-K was to occupy the land of Khorasan, that includes the country of Afghanistan.

Even though the initial IS-K was formed by Taliban as well as Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) defectors and thus ideologically similar, it became dominated by Salafists. The disgruntled members of TTP would establish IS-KP and shifted to the Nangarhar province. After its founding Pakistani leaders who defected from TTP were killed in US drone strikes, Afghan Salafists took charge of TTP.

The emergence of IS-K provided militant Afghan Salafists with an opportunity to set up a rival force, although Salafist support for the group waned as it proved ideologically "too extreme and brutal" for most Afghan Salafis.

As a result, the majority of Afghan Salafis have remained supportive of the Taliban. In March 2020, major Pashtun Ahl-i Hadith ulema convened in Peshawar under the leadership of Shaikh Abdul Aziz Nooristani and Haji Hayatullah to pledge Bay'ah (oath of loyalty) to the Taliban and publicly condemn IS-K. The scholars also requested protection from the Afghan Taliban for the Ahl-i Hadith community.

After Taliban victory in the War in Afghanistan and Restoration of the Islamic Emirate, hundreds of Ahl-i Hadith ulema would gather to announce their Bay'ah (pledge of allegiance) to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. Numerous Ahl-i Hadith clerics and their representatives held gatherings across various provinces of Afghanistan to re-affirm their backing of the Taliban and officially declare their support to the Taliban crackdown on IS-K.

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Published on: Tuesday, April 19, 2022, 01:12 PM IST