Sunday, May 9, 2021/Kabul-
Afghan families have been burying their children who were killed in explosions outside a secondary school in the capital, Kabul, on Saturday.
More than 60 people, mostly girls, are now known to have died in the attack that hit students as they left class.
No-one has admitted carrying out the attack in Dasht-e-Barchi, an area often hit by Sunni Islamist militants.
The Afghan government blamed Taliban militants for the attack, but the group denied involvement.
The exact target for Saturday’s bloodshed is unclear. The blasts come against a backdrop of rising violence as the US looks to withdraw all its troops from Afghanistan by 11 September.
The neighbourhood in western Kabul where the blasts occurred is home to many from the Hazara minority community, who are of Mongolian and Central Asian descent and are mainly Shia Muslims.
The first burials took place at “Martyrs Cemetery”, where Hazara victims are laid to rest.
Mourners in a state of shock watched in grief as the girls’ bodies in wooden coffins were lowered into graves, AFP news agency reported.
One of the residents of the area was quoted by AFP as saying: “I rushed to the scene and found myself in the middle of bodies
“All of them were girls. Their bodies piled on top of each other.”
The explosions are believed to have been caused by a car bomb and two improvised explosive devices planted in the area.
One survivor, Zahra, told reporters she was leaving the school as the blasts took place.
“My classmate died. A few minutes later there was another explosion, and then another. Everyone was screaming and there was blood everywhere,” she said.
More than 150 people were injured in the attack. Reports from Kabul say the city was busy with shoppers ahead of this year’s celebrations for Eid al-Fitr next week.
Najiba Arian, ministry of education spokeswoman, told Reuters news agency the government-run school was open to boys and girls.
Most of the those hurt were girls, who study in the second of three sessions, according to Ms Arian.