At least 16 killed, 24 wounded in north Afghanistan blast

Published November 30, 2022
<p>Wounded Afghan men receive treatment at a hospital following a blast at a madrassa in Aybak city of Samangan province, Afghanistan on November 30. — AFP</p>

Wounded Afghan men receive treatment at a hospital following a blast at a madrassa in Aybak city of Samangan province, Afghanistan on November 30. — AFP

At least 16 people were killed and 24 others wounded Wednesday by a blast at a madrassa in Afghanistan’s northern city of Aybak, a doctor at a local hospital told AFP.

There have been dozens of blasts and attacks targeting civilians since the Taliban returned to power in August last year, most claimed by the local chapter of the Islamic State (IS) group.

A doctor in Aybak, about 200 kilometres (130 miles) north of the capital Kabul, said the casualties were mostly youngsters.

“All of them are children and ordinary people,” he told AFP, asking not to be named.

A provincial official confirmed the blast at Al Jihad madressah but could not provide casualty figures.

The Taliban, which frequently plays down casualty figures, said 10 students had died and “many others” were injured.

“Our detective and security forces are working quickly to identify the perpetrators of this unforgivable crime and punish them for their actions,” tweeted Interior Ministry spokesman Abdul Nafay Takor.

Images and video circulating on social media — which could not immediately be verified — showed Taliban fighters picking their way through bodies strewn across the floor of a building.

Prayer mats, shattered glass and other debris littered the scene.

Lull between blasts

Aybak is a small but ancient provincial capital that came to prominence as a caravan stopping post for traders during the fourth and fifth centuries when it was also an important Buddhist centre.

There has been a lull of a few weeks between major blasts targeting civilians in Afghanistan, although several Taliban fighters have been killed in isolated attacks.

In September, at least 54 people — including 51 girls and young women — were killed when a suicide bomber detonated a device at a hall in Kabul packed with hundreds of students sitting a practice test for university admissions.

No group claimed responsibility for that bombing, but the Taliban later blamed the Islamic State and said it had killed several ringleaders.

In May last year, before the Taliban’s return to power, at least 85 people — mainly girls — were killed and about 300 were wounded when three bombs exploded near their school in the neighbourhood.

No group claimed responsibility, but a year earlier IS claimed a suicide attack on an educational centre in the area that killed 24.

Opinion

Editorial

Mianwali raid
Updated 02 Feb, 2023

Mianwali raid

The military needs to share intelligence with civilian agencies to neutralise the militant menace nationwide.
Corruption unlimited
02 Feb, 2023

Corruption unlimited

PAKISTAN’S consistent slide on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index over the last several...
Women police officers
02 Feb, 2023

Women police officers

IN a heartening development, a second female police officer has been appointed as DPO in Attock, weeks after the...
Road to perdition
Updated 01 Feb, 2023

Road to perdition

This is also the time of reckoning for those who sowed the seeds of a disastrous policy against militants.
Transport tragedies
01 Feb, 2023

Transport tragedies

TWO tragedies over the weekend illustrate the weak protocols governing the safety of transport in Pakistan. In fact,...
Disqualifying Jam Awais
01 Feb, 2023

Disqualifying Jam Awais

IT appears that there may be some kind of small punishment after all for PPP lawmaker Jam Awais, who was pardoned ...