The United Nations has condemned the deadly bomb blasts at two educational institutions in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, on Wednesday, which killed at least six people and wounded nearly 20 others.
The explosions took place at the all-boys Abdul Rahim Shahid high school and the nearby Mumtaz Education Centre, both located in the Dasht-e-Barchi area, a predominantly Shiite Muslim neighbourhood in western Kabul.
The attack at the Abdul Rahim Shahid high school reportedly occurred as students were coming out of their morning classes, according to the UN in Afghanistan. The blasts at the Mumtaz Education Centre followed shortly afterwards.
Ramiz Alakbarov, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the country, issued a statement strongly condemning the “horrific” attacks.
“Violence in or around schools is never acceptable. For the people of Afghanistan, already beleaguered by forty years of war, schools should be safe havens, and places where children can learn and flourish,” he said.
Alakbarov underlined that attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, including schools, are strictly prohibited under international humanitarian law.
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) took to Twitter to unequivocally condemn the “heinous” attacks.
“Those responsible for the crime targeting schools and children must be brought to justice,” the UNAMA tweet said, noting that Mission chief Deborah Lyons has extended her deepest sympathies to the families of the victims, and wishes for a speedy recovery for the wounded.
Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, also joined Ms. Lyons in extending condolences to the bereaved families.
“Afghanistan’s ethnic, religious and linguistic diversity is at great risk. It must be respected and kept safe,” Grandi wrote on his official Twitter account.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has also denounced the bombings.
“Attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, including schools, are strictly prohibited under international humanitarian law,” UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told journalists in New York.
In expressing her condemnation, the head of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Catherine Russell, noted that the number of casualties is expected to rise.
She also appealed in the strongest terms to all parties to protect boys and girls at all times.
“Attacks on children and education facilities constitute grave rights violations,” said Russell. “Schools are more than places of learning; they should be havens of protection and peace.”