It has been almost two months since the car bomb attack on 8th May 2021 against Sayed-al-Shohada girls high school in Dash-e-Barchi, a Hazara neighborhood in Kabul. Over 95 killed and more than 200 others were injured, which almost all victims were schoolgirls between the age of 11-18.
The attack took place at the hour that students were leaving the school for their homes. The school is located in a largely impoverished Hazara community that faces long-standing discrimination and neglect of their neighborhoods, including lack of security for schools that have often been subject to attacks.
After the attack, many figures, diplomatic envoys, the international community, and human rights groups released statements condemning the deadly targeted attack on the school.
The Afghanistan Independence Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) called on the concerned countries to support its demands for a credible and transparent investigation under UN auspices and also asked the UN to establish a commission of inquiry to investigate the attacks on civilians. AIHRC stated that the “community in Dasht-e-Barch must be listened to; the community’s grief, questions, and demands must be heard. Most of the families are among the poorest.
The government must ensure the community receive, without legal complication, benefits owed to them.”
In response to the attack, Samira Hamidi, Amnesty International’s South Asia campaigner said: “The appalling scenes in West Kabul and Zabul province must serve as a wakeup call to the world. These unspeakable crimes brutally highlight the failure of authorities to protect civilians, particularly girls and minority groups people are slaughtered on a weekly basis and the bloodshed shows no sign of letting up. Now is not the time for the international community to turn its back on Afghanistan.”
The hype surrounding the US deal with the Taliban on troop withdrawal was that it might lead to a ceasefire and respite for civilians. But the reality unfortunately is different and violence such as the targeted attack on Sayed-al-Shohada girls high school continues every single day, which takes victims from innocent citizens, especially targeted defenseless and helpless Hazara ethnic group.
The United Nations (UN) agencies such as United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) also responded to the attack by condemning this horrific act of terrorism. Antonio Gutteres UNSG, in a statement, said “… Those who responsible for this heinous crime, must be held accountable.” Although Human rights groups and the UN showed their sympathy by releasing statements, the situation requires more than words.
The Hazara Diaspora Organizations around the world released a statement and launched a campaign to demand an urgent and effective response to stop such attacks against civilians and for Hazaras who are exposed to genocide, the real action is required to bring such atrocities to an end.
The international community must put pressure on the government of Afghanistan to take action to protect vulnerable groups such as the Hazaras and to ensure they carry their fundamental duty as a government.
As AIHRC demanded, the UN must take action to focus on relieving the pain and agonies of people by investigating the crimes to identify the perpetrators and hold them accountable for their actions. This could result in the prevention of future/ upcoming attacks.