• Jane

Terrorists target girls’ school in Kabul (again)

Updated: Jun 29, 2021

At least 85 people have died and over 100 have been wounded in Afghanistan over the weekend after terrorists bombed a high school in the west of Kabul. The majority of the victims were young girls aged between 11 and 15.

Three bombs were detonated as the girls were exiting the school on Saturday afternoon. Witnesses describe the scene as utter chaos as a limited number of ambulances finally arrived hours after the incident.

At Sayed Ul-Shuhada High School, boys have classes in the morning and girls have classes in the afternoon. The only difference is that for one of these groups, the decision to enter those school gates is a life threatening gamble.

School bombings, mass shootings and acid attacks on girls seeking an education are a major threat in Afghanistan and neighbouring states where the Taliban and Islamist militias are still present. Due to the risks of educating girls, over 1000 schools have been forced to close in the region.

In 2012, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai was shot on a school bus by the Taliban in neighbouring Pakistan. While Malala’s school operated discreetly, her public activism for girls education is ultimately what resulted in the targeted attack.

The bombing at Sayed Ul-Shuhada comes at an extremely turbulent time in the region with Afghan security forces and Taliban insurgents working to gain control over strategic areas as the US scrambles to withdraw their troops. The US signed a peace deal with the Taliban in 2020 and announced earlier this year that all NATO and US troops would exit the region by September.

While this does signal the end of a $3 trillion USD (and 19 year) war, the future of Afghanistan remains uncertain. With the Taliban continuing to hold a strong presence in the region, the future of girls education remains in jeopardy.