The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) says the Mission has now verified that 40 students were killed and 67 others were injured, the majority of whom were young women and men, in the deadly attack targeting an educational center in Kabul.

UNAMA in a statement said facts in the incident have now become clear. On the afternoon of 15 August, a suicide attacker walked into the Mahwood Education Centre and detonated an explosive vest in a classroom crowded with students who were preparing for their university entrance exams. The majority of those killed and injured were 16 to 20 years old.

“An attack deliberately targeting students can only be described as a cowardly act of terror,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan. “This atrocity not only robbed these young women and men of their futures but also deprived Afghanistan of all the benefits that their education and potential would have brought this country.”

UNAMA further added that the Mahwood Education Centre, where the attack took place, is located in Kabul’s Dashti-i-Barchi neighbourhood, which is densely populated by Afghanistan’s Shia minority community. UNAMA has documented several previous attacks deliberately carried out against this community.

Additional efforts to protect Shia places of worship were announced one year ago by the Government of Afghanistan, UNAMA said, adding that this week’s attack, however, marks the first time that students, many of them children, have been deliberately targeted.

“The pace of such attacks directed against civilians indicates that current measures in place to protect all civilians from harm must be strengthened,” said Yamamoto, who is also head of UNAMA. “The United Nations stands with all Afghans in solidarity and remains committed to an Afghan-led peace process that will end the war, enabling Afghanistan to allocate more resources to protect all its citizens from such atrocities.”

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