A recent respite from bombings was broken by an explosion near a tutoring center in western Kabul on Saturday, leaving at least 30 people dead, according to security sources.
Security agencies report that the attacker tried but failed to reach the entrance of the center, and he was recognized as he entered a narrow street that led to the gate of the institution. At the time, dozens of young students were in classes studying for the university entrance exam that is held every year in Afghanistan.
According to security agencies, some students were out of their classes in the street and the attacker detonated his explosives near them when he was recognized by a security guard of the institution, who was also killed in the bombing.
Security guards were assigned to protect education centers in the west of Kabul after an education center was attacked in Dasht-e-Barchi in August 2018. At least 50 people, mostly students, were killed in a 2018 suicide bombing on Mawood Academy – a similar institution to the Kawsar-e-Danesh center that was attacked on Saturday evening.
Eyewitnesses said the attacker was in military uniform.
Some students said the center was attacked in 2017 by a person who tried to throw an explosive at the center but was killed by his own bomb.
Kawsar-e-Danish is well-known among tuition centers in Kabul. Over 5,000 students have been enrolled at the center. Shamsia, this year’s university exam top-scorer, studied at this center, according to students. Shamsia’s portrait is displayed on a wall along the street that leads to the center.
Many notebooks, textbooks, pens and shoes stained with blood were left behind on the street of the education center that is surrounded by residential houses, which are made of earth.
“It happened when students were leaving their classes. He had a military uniform and a white scarf. I saw him from behind,” said Esmatullah, an eyewitness.
“It was horrific. We call on our leaders to prevent these attacks,” said Mohammad Hashim, an eyewitness.
A CCTV camera mounted on the the door of the center recorded the attack, but eyewitnesses said the video was taken by security officers.
“If they cannot protect the people, they should leave their jobs,” Hadi said.
“People are mourning every day. They are hit by poverty from one side, and, from the other, their sons are killed,” said Karima, a resident of western Kabul.
Analysts said there is a need for proper security plans to protect the west of Kabul, which has been vulnerable to deadly bombings in recent years.
“Such terrorist attacks are aimed at disrupting the peace process, creating divisions and destroying trust between the negotiating teams, as well as causing religious and ethnic divisions,” said Asadullah Naeem, a former military officer.