The number of people killed by a bomb attack outside a school in Kabul, the Afghanistan capital rose to 68, according to officials on Sunday, with doctors struggling to cater for 165 wounded and families urgently looking for the missing children.
Saturday night explosions shook the district of Dasht-e-Barchi which is home to a large community of Shi’ites from the Hazara ethnic minority, which has previously been targeted by Islamic State, a Sunni militant group.
As students rushed out in panic, a car bomb exploded in front of the Sayed Al-Shuhada campus, followed by two more bombs.
Officials said most of those killed were schoolgirls. Some families were still searching hospitals for their children.
“The first blast was powerful and happened so close to the children that some of them could not be found,” said an Afghan official, requesting anonymity.
President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday blamed Taliban insurgents but a spokesman for the group denied involvement and condemned any attacks on Afghan civilians.
Pope Francis called the attack as “inhuman act” in remarks to pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City on Sunday.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also condemned the attack and expressed his deepest sympathies to the victims’ families and to the Afghan government and people.
Families of the victims blamed the government and Western powers for failing to put an end to violence and the ongoing war.