Students pay tribute to memories of their classmates who lost their lives in an attack on education center in Kabul

Victims’ families accuse gov’t of double standard in probing terrorist attacks

“Whenever I enter the tuition center I feel fear. I recall my classmates who are gone forever,” said Najia Kazimi, a survivor of the deadly attack against Kawsar-e-Danish tuition center late in October, who along with a number of students had participated in a ceremony held inside the education center to commemorate the 40th day, a tribute paid in the memory of the victims.

On October 24, a suicide bomber detonated his explosives before main gate of Kawsar-e-Danish tuition center in the western neighborhood of Kabul which, according to official figure, killed at least 24, including teenagers, and wounded 57 others. The Islamic State Khurasan Province (ISKP) claimed responsibility for the attack.

But Yasin Sorush, director of the center, says that 42 people were killed and 80 others were wounded in the suicide bombing.

The tuition center was established eight years ago and is currently providing tuition services for around 2,000 students. According to Sorush, the attack has largely impacted the students and caused some families to stop sending their children to get education. The number of students has decreased significantly since most of the students who were coming from provinces have returned to their homes, Sorush said. He added that most of the students were still suffering from trauma and cannot get along in their lessons despite their interests.

Smiling photographs of the lost students, each inside a frame, were placed all in one row with candles lighten up for each of the victim. To pay tribute to their lost friends, classmates, and relatives, the students, who have survived the attack, were standing in front of the smiling photographs, with a black attire and sorrowful. Each of them were holding a paper with slogans reading as “Let us breathe”; “what is our crime?” and “Education is one of our basic rights.”

Few steps further inside the center’s campus, an elderly woman was kissing a photograph nonstop while her tears were rolling down her cheek in deep sorrow. She was repeatedly calling the name of her lost child. Some students who stood up in paying tribute to their classmates, were in state of deep sorrow with tears rolling down their cheeks.

Mournful families of the wounded and dead victims were also gathered in a corner of the center’s campus to pay tribute to memory of their lost members.

“Instead of participating in their graduation ceremony, why we are participating in the 40th day anniversary of deaths of our children,” said a women loudly.

The unsolvable question, which was asked by a sad woman, echoes the pains of thousands of Afghan parents who have lost their children to war.

Students paying tribute to memories of their classmates who lost their lives in attack on Kawsar-e-Danish tuition center in Kabul

Sanna Ibrahimi, who has lost her cousin, Malika Ibrahimi, in the attack, can hardly speak as an intolerable pain and sorrow press her throat and do not let her voice come out. Malika was killed for she was pursuing education, Sanna said, melancholically adding that her cousin left her class forever with all her dreams. “She left the tuition center after her class but never reached home.”

The government is double standard

In August 2018, a deadly attack against the tuition center in Barchi, a predominantly Hazara neighborhood in western Kabul killed as many as 48 people and wounded 67 others in a suicide bombing that targeted another tuition center in the same neighborhood.

On November 02, in a complex attack, which lasted for hours inside the Kabul University – the country’s largest state university – as many 24 people were killed and dozens other wounded.

Meanwhile, Sorush accuses the government of having double standard approach in probing cases of the terrorist attacks. He argues that the government is seriously probing the terrorist attack against Kabul University while it has turned a blind eye on the deadly attack against Kawsar-e-Danish. “The media and the government are highlighting that case [of Kabul university] but the incident took place in Kawsar-e-Danish is completely ignored. The government even did not express condolences to us. We do visit the Third Police District and ask for prosecution of perpetrators of this incident but they do not have the required authority. The First Vice President regularly provides update regarding the case of Kabul University in his 06:30 AM meeting but he does not do so with our case,” he complained.

Mr. Sorush went on to ask why it was targeted since those who frequented the center were students who wanted to learn few points from chemistry, physics, and other school subjects. “I don’t know what our crime is.”

He also accused security authorities of not providing timely warning for the center despite having prior-intelligence regarding the possibility of the attack. “There have been serious threats previously but we were not informed about it,” he said.

Victims’ families are cynical of government’s support

Hanifa, who is an elderly woman overly taken by sorrow, lost her husband, Hussain, in the tuition center attack. Hussain had identified and stopped the suicide bomber outside the center which is said to have prevented more casualties. But he was killed in the attack. “I have seven children and the eldest one is 19 years old. My three daughters are not schooling. I ask the government to provide education opportunity for my children and security,” Hanifa says.

Abdullah Foladi, who lost her niece, Malika, to the attack raises doubt about the government’s honesty in probing and prosecuting perpetrators of the suicide bombing.

“You need to be very lucky to return home alive when you live in Afghanistan,” Abdullah says, noting that if the government is really incapable of stopping such attack, it has to confess its inability and let other government should be formed.

This report has been developed by Etilaatroz’s Abas Asadiyan and translated by Mokhtar Yasa