Explosions targeting a high school in western Kabul on Tuesday have sparked widespread condemnation around the world.
Three explosions at a high school in western Kabul killed at least six people and injured 11, Afghan security and health officials said.
The blast targeted educational institutions and many of the casualties were young students.
“Three blasts have taken place…in a high school, there are some casualties to our Shia people,” said Khalid Zadran, the spokesman for Kabul’s commander.
He said later that six people had been killed and 11 injured in the explosions.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
An official familiar with the matter who declined to be named said the explosive devices had been hidden in backpacks and one had detonated inside the school gates, Reuters reported.
The incident was condemned both on a national and an international level.
Former president Hamid Karzai condemned the blast, calling it a crime against humanity and an act by the enemies of peace in Afghanistan and an act against education in the country.
The former chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, Abdullah Abdullah, also condemned the attack, calling those responsible the enemies of peace and development in Afghanistan.
The United States condemned the attacks and called for an investigation.
The US State Department in a statement offered condolences to the Afghan families and said the perpetrators must be brought to justice
“The United States joins the international community in expressing outrage at today’s heinous attacks on the Mumtaz Education Center and the Abdul Rahim Shahid school in Kabul, Afghanistan. We offer sincere condolences to the families and other loved ones of those killed in these cowardly acts. The perpetrators must be brought to justice,” US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.
“All Afghan children deserve to pursue their studies safely and without fear of violence,” he added.
UN reacts to “heinous” attacks
The United Nations also condemned the deadly bomb blasts.
Ramiz Alakbarov, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the country, issued a statement strongly condemning the “horrific” attacks.
“Violence in or around schools is never acceptable. For the people of Afghanistan, already beleaguered by forty years of war, schools should be safe havens, and places where children can learn and flourish,” he said.
Alakbarov underlined that attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, including schools, are strictly prohibited under international humanitarian law.
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) took to Twitter to condemn the “heinous” attacks.
“Those responsible for the crime targeting schools and children must be brought to justice,” the UNAMA tweet said, noting that Mission chief Deborah Lyons has extended her deepest sympathies to the families of the victims, and wishes for a speedy recovery for the wounded.
Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, also joined Lyons in extending condolences to the bereaved families.
“Afghanistan’s ethnic, religious and linguistic diversity is at great risk. It must be respected and kept safe,” Grandi wrote on his official Twitter account.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has also denounced the bombings.
“I condemn the deadly attacks on schools in Kabul and send my deepest condolences to the families of the victims. Attacks against civilians & civilian infrastructure, including schools, are strictly prohibited under international humanitarian law,” Guterres tweeted.
Save the Children organization in turn said: “We are horrified and outraged at the reported attack on a high school in Kabul.
“Children in Afghanistan have endured years of violence. Enough is enough. They have the right to access a safe education,” Save the Children said, added that: “The time is NOW to Stop the War on Children.”
Meanwhile, Amnesty International called the school bombing in Afghanistan a ‘reprehensible attack’ on religious and ethnic minorities.
Jasper Wieck, Special Representative of the German Federal Government for Afghanistan & Pakistan, U.S. Special Representative Thomas West and Chargé d’Affaires Ian McCary in series of tweets also strongly condemned the bombings.
“I strongly condemn today’s attacks in Kabul. Targeting the future of a country, its children & schools, is utmost heinous. It is the responsibility of the de facto authorities to protect the people of Afghanistan from violence & terror, no matter their age, gender & believes,” Wieck tweeted.
“The United States condemns in the strongest terms the horrific and cowardly attacks on students in Kabul today. No one should have to worry about their safety while being educated. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims.” West tweeted.
“I deplore the horrific attacks on Mumtaz Education Center and the Abdul Rahim Shahid school in Kabul. We offer deepest condolences to the victims & families of the deceased. All Afghans should be able to pursue their studies safely and without fear,” McCary tweeted.
IEA says attack was “painful and sad”
IEAs officials meanwhile said they are committed to finding and punishing the perpetrators of the attack and preventing such incidents from taking place in future.
“The attack on our innocent children was very painful and sad. The Islamic Emirate is responsible for the security of every citizen,” said Inamullah Samangani, IEA’s deputy spokesman.
Mysterious fires destroy dozens of homes in Jowzjan
More than 50 homes have been destroyed by mysterious fires in a village in Afghanistan’s northern Jowzjan province, officials said this week.
The fires have happened in Bala Mardian village of Faizabad district.
Sirajuddin Ahmadi, police chief of Jowzjan, said that the fires are increasing day by day.
“Yesterday 12 homes caught fire. Today people held Khatm Qur’an ceremony (reading Qur’an) and prayed. Within an hour today, three or four homes caught fire. I hope officials and leaders of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) will pay special attention to the victims,” Ahmadi said.
There are no reports of deaths caused by the fires.
Noorullah Musafir, the provincial director of labor and social affairs, however, said that some people including women and children were hospitalized.
Meanwhile, local residents said that mysterious creatures could be seen during the fires.
“People are suffering from the problem. They initially thought that it was human, but later it was found that only children and women can see it. A creature is seen in the home, but when we enter the home, no one is there,” a Jowzjan resident said.
DAB says technical agreements in place to print new bank notes
The country’s central bank – Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) said Thursday they have reached agreements with a number of foreign countries and money printing facilities to print new bank notes for the country.
“We have collected and burned the old money, we have reached an agreement with the money printing offices and countries and we expect to proceed according to the plan and present you with the results, we are proceeding based on national interests; discussions have been held with countries and banks and they will help Afghanistan,” said Lutful Haq Noor Pasarlay, DAB’s policy deputy head.
Abdulqahar known as Haji Muhammad Edris, the acting head of De Afghanistan Bank, also spoke at the event and mapped out achievements made by the central bank in the past 12 months.
“Maintaining the stability of the value of the Afghani currency, maintaining the sustainability of commercial banks, providing banking services, facilitating cross-border transfers and developing new systems were some of the issues in the attention of Da Afghanistan Bank during the last year,” said Abdulqahar.
According to officials, in order to improve the banking sector and prevent criminal activities, the law to prevent terrorism financing, the regulation of preventive measures against money laundering, the management plan for the liquidity problem of the banking sector, the plan to revive the financial and banking sector, and the crisis management policy, have been drawn up and will soon be adopted.
The officials also said that in order to release Afghanistan’s foreign exchange reserves, several internal and external meetings have been organized with the relevant parties and discussions have been held on technical matters.
The last meeting of technical representatives of Afghanistan and the United States, for releasing Afghanistan’s frozen assets, was held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Bayat Power ‘looking forward’ to increasing domestic electricity output
Bayat Power, Afghanistan’s first and currently only, natural gas to electricity generation, energy company is looking forward to expand its domestic power output.
In a speech, delivered by a company representative, Lotfullah Stanikzai, Bayat Power informed delegates attending the key energy conference in Kabul that the “team is looking forward to deploying additional state-of-the-art turbines in Afghanistan to continue to develop the domestic gas to electricity sector, contributing to the energy security and building the nation for the long term.”
Stanikzai said the company was committed to working with government to achieve energy security and develop a pathway to energy self-sufficiency in Afghanistan.
The one-day conference, which was attended by senior Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) leaders, representatives of foreign countries and members of the private sector, was convened to attract investment in the energy and water sectors.
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the acting Deputy Prime Minister, said in his opening speech the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) is committed to developing the country but urged the people to be patient adding “because we have to build this country ourselves”.
Baradar also pointed out that Afghanistan is potentially a wealthy country that has great investment opportunities.
Abdul Latif Mansour, the acting Minister of Energy and Water, also addressed delegates and said the IEA is committed to managing the country’s water efficiently and to producing enough energy for the people.
Mansour said the conference was being held to map out opportunities available in the water and energy sectors for investors and that the IEA had paved the way for local and international business owners to invest in the sectors.
Shahabuddin Delavar, acting head of the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum also addressed delegates and said it is “now time for us to maintain our country’s independence, and utilize our natural resources”.
He singled out Bayat Power, and said at the moment the company produces 40MW electricity but that it hoped to increase this substantially.
“We welcome the company’s decision,” he said.
Stanikzai told delegates that Bayat Power was the direct result of a solid private and public partnership between the company and various Afghanistan government entities, including the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, Afghanistan Gas Enterprise (AGE), and Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat.
However, he stated that Bayat Power calls on the IEA to support the continuation of operations with current investors and attraction of further investment.
He urged the authorities to ensure timely payment of outstanding invoices by DABS was made to various private entities including Bayat Power; to facilitate a favorable investment environment; promote investment through favorable taxation policies and lower operational costs; and promote transparency with government entities to expedite new and the renewal of existing agreements.
He also urged the IEA to ensure that AGE continues to receive full government support so that they can remain operational and provide clean gas.
Stanikzai said it was important for DABS and the ministry of energy and water “to continue the excellent work in keeping the grid stable to take the domestic electricity produced by private sector companies.”
In conclusion, he said: “Bayat Power team is looking forward to deploying additional state-of-the-art turbines in Afghanistan to continue to develop the domestic gas to electricity sector, contributing to the energy security and building the nation for the long term.”
About Bayat Power
Bayat Power supplies electricity to schools, homes, mosques, hospitals, factories, business enterprises and other essential services. Currently the company supplies electricity to over 200,000 end users.
Bayat Group established the Bayat Power Electricity Services Distributor Company in 2013. Using the nation’s abundant natural gas reserves, the goal was to provide the people with a reliable supply of affordable and sustainable electricity.
Site work on Bayat Power-1’s 40MW gas-fired turbine started in 2019 and achieved commercial operation in November of that year. This landmark milestone made Bayat Power the first company in Afghanistan to operate a new gas-fired generation facility in more than 40 years.
Bayat Power-1 uses the most advanced, powerful, and efficient technology to extract the gas without adverse environmental impact.
Using Siemens Mobile Gas Unit “SGT-A45”, with up to 44 MW of electrical output, offers significantly more power and higher efficiency than any other mobile gas turbine worldwide.
The SGT-A45 turbine generates more than 300 million kWh per year of electricity, increasing revenue for the Afghanistan Gas Company through the purchase of gas for the project, as well as significant tax revenue for the Afghan government in the form of BRT, salaries and customs taxes, Bayat Power has been – and continues to be – a considerable PPP (private, public partnership) achievement.
This project has created more than 1,000 direct and indirect job opportunities for Afghans, which has contributed to improving the nation’s economic condition and fostered new technical skill sets amongst the country’s talented citizens.
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