UNAMA condemns series of bombings in Nangarhar targeting civilians and schools

11 Sep 2018

UNAMA condemns series of bombings in Nangarhar targeting civilians and schools

KABUL - The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) condemns the series of bombings today in Nangarhar province which killed at least 21 civilians and injured more than 60 others, and voices its mounting concern at the pattern of attacks targeting civilians and schools.

The majority of civilian casualties occurred in the Mohmandara district of Nangarhar when a suicide attacker detonated his explosives among a crowd which had gathered to demonstrate against an Afghan Local Police commander. At least 20 civilians were killed and more than 60 injured.

Nangarhar, and its capital Jalalabad, has recently witnessed multiple deliberate attacks by Anti-Government Elements specifically targeting civilians and civilian objects, in particular schools, which have been targeted since June in retaliation for operations by Pro-Government Forces in the area.

Within a 15-minute period on Tuesday morning, no fewer than three schools were targeted in the Bihsud district of Nangarhar and in Jalalabad.  Two girls’ high schools were hit by blasts, with a 12-year-old boy being killed and several children injured when a second improvised explosive device (IED) detonated as first responders and families rushed to the scene following the initial blast. Several other male civilians were also wounded in the blasts. An IED placed next to the third school was located and diffused by explosive experts.  Children had returned to school in recent days after their summer vacation. Nangarhar has seen an increased spate of threats and attacks against schools by Anti-Government Elements since June in retaliation for aerial attacks.

“I feel profound indignation at this latest wave of attacks deliberately targeting civilians. Our deepest sympathy is with the victims, families and the Afghan people. The bombings of schools and the killing of children are among the most egregious and repulsive acts of terrorism which violate international humanitarian law.” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan. “The planners must face justice.”

UNAMA reminds all parties to the conflict to uphold their obligations to protect civilians and calls upon them to immediately cease targeting civilians and civilian objects such as schools, in compliance with international humanitarian law.