Law students and lawyers in Afghanistan are filing reports with JURIST on the situation there after the Taliban takeover. Here, a law student in Kabul reports on a wave of explosions at a school and education center in Kabul that have reportedly killed and wounded dozens. For privacy and security reasons, we are withholding our correspondent’s name. The text has only been lightly edited to respect the author’s voice.
The largest school in the west of Kabul and an educational center in the city were hit with multiple deadly explosions one after the other on Tuesday. These explosions mainly targeted young school boys who went to study, hoping for brighter futures then those of their parents.
Speaking from experience, whenever an explosion or attack occurred near our school—and there were many such when I was growing up—the school would immediately dismiss us so we could run back home to safety. The point was to prevent masses of people in one place, fearing that the attackers might get in and corner us in a closed facility, putting thousands of lives at their mercy. I suspect this same drill was actually targeted here – the first explosion with a mine provoked a panic, and when thousands of students ran out of school, and at that moment the other two explosions caught them.
The areas around the targetted school and education center is populated mostly by Hazara and Shiite, who historically the Taliban extremists despise. This part of the capital has been a primary target of terroristic attacks. As reported by eyewitnesses in the area, Taliban came along after the explosions and in their first response gathered reporters and their cameras, and even arrested some of the journalists at the scene. A journalist told Afghanistan International that Taliban “took our gear and videos and laughed while dozens of children were lying dead.” The Taliban also assaulted and beat families of the wounded and deceased children when they wanted to enter hospitals; some of the videos of Taliban militia beating family members of children who lost their son just hours before has provoked anger and disgust in social media. But the most troubling and inhumane of their acts must be when Taliban decided to pile the bodies of the dead children in an intermodal container, and led fathers and brothers inside the container to shovel back and forth in a pile of dead bodies to find their son or brother. An inhumane act filled with apathy towards human dignity, just to cover it all up from cameras.
With no sense of respect to the souls of many dead children and youngsters, the Taliban reported the casualties as six dead and eleven people wounded. However, other sources reported that at one hospital alone—Ali Jenah hospital—twenty-six dead people were brought in.
Today a father lost three sons in the course of a couple of hours. Also today, a mother who had lost her husband in the Dehmazang attack and her daughter in the Mouod attack some time ago lost her last child when she caught in one of the explosions and died. These words may sound alien and unrelatable to many. But I remember where I was and what it felt like in those days; I remember after attacks people would form rallies to donate blood and pray, and although many precious lives were lost, we consoled ourselves that their deaths would not be in vain and this generation would not stop going to schools and universities. In this moment, it does not feel like that anymore. Instead, it feels that those lives were lost in vain and they will be simply collateral damage to someone’s greater good. I feel like a member of a forsaken people who are bound to suffer in a perpetual nightmare. I hope I am wrong.