The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) is appalled by the attack, claimed by the Taliban, yesterday in a civilian-populated area of Kabul, with schools, homes, media outlets and other civilian facilities in the vicinity, UNAMA said in a statement on Tuesday.
The statement added that, Preliminary data indicates that the complex attack began with the detonation of explosives and caused scores of civilian casualties, among them women and many children, and led to damage to schools and other civilian infrastructure.
“The use of explosives in civilian-populated areas continues to cause extreme harm to Afghanistan’s civilian population, and I call for an immediate end to the horrible practice,” Mr Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan said in a statement released by UNAMA.
“Loss of life, maiming, damage to schools, businesses and personal property, along with widespread fear – these are the real consequences of such attacks in urban areas,” the statements read.
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The statement further added that, the attack in Kabul took place when children were arriving at nearby schools, indicating that those who planned and launched it at that time showed a reckless disregard for the safety of innocent lives. International humanitarian law explicitly prohibits indiscriminate attacks where civilians are present and requires all parties to uphold their obligations to avoid harm to civilians at all times.
“It is particularly egregious that a premeditated act of extreme violence was conducted without regard to the safety of civilians,” said Yamamoto in the statement. “UN staff were at hospitals in the immediate aftermath of the attack, and I have been deeply saddened by reports of many wounded children there, along with the photos of students still clutching their schoolbooks as they are moved into ambulances.”
UNAMA’s human rights team continues to look into the full impact of the attack yesterday, with preliminary figures standing at more than 100 civilian casualties, the majority of whom were injured. Among those injured were media workers, students and other civilians. These preliminary figures are expected to rise.
“These civilian casualties are simply unacceptable, especially the number of children harmed in this incident; the United Nations renews its call for an immediate and peaceful settlement to the conflict to end the suffering of the Afghan people,” said Yamamoto.
“All parties can and should do their utmost to protect civilians from harm, including by making concrete progress toward peace, “he said.