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Afghans Bury Dead From School Attack That Killed At Least 50

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An injured schoolgirl is transported to a hospital after the blast in Kabul.

Funerals were held in the Afghan capital on May 9 for the victims of an attack a day earlier at a girls' school that killed at least 50 people and wounded another 100.

Most of those buried at a hilltop cemetery in Kabul were female students at the Sayed Al-Shuhada School, a girls' school in the largely Shi'ite Hazara neighborhood of Dasht-e Barchi.

Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said a car bomb detonated in front of the Sayed Al-Shuhada School, then two more bombs exploded when students rushed out in panic.

Images shared on social media purportedly showed the aftermath of the explosion, with bloodied backpacks and books strewn across the street in front of the school, and smoke rising above the neighborhood.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, although Afghan officials blamed the Taliban.

The militant group denied involvement and condemned the attack, the deadliest in Kabul for months.

"This savage group does not have the power to confront security forces on the battlefield, and instead targets with brutality and barbarism public facilities and the girls' school," Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said in a statement.

Afghan officials have long accused the Taliban of trying to cover their tracks by allowing the much smaller Islamic State (IS) extremist group to claim responsibility for some militant attacks.

IS and Taliban militants -- Sunni extremist groups that consider Shi’a Muslims apostates -- have been blamed for devastating attacks that have killed hundreds of Hazara in Dasht-e Barchi in recent years.

IS militants were blamed for a vicious attack on a maternity hospital in the same area that killed pregnant women and newborn babies last year.

Health Ministry spokesman Ghulam Dastigar Nazari said angry crowds attacked ambulances and even health workers as they tried to evacuate the wounded.

The top U.S. diplomat in Kabul, Ross Wilson, called the blasts "abhorrent."

"This unforgivable attack on children is an assault on Afghanistan's future, which cannot stand," Wilson tweeted.

The latest violence comes as fighting is soaring across the country amid the ongoing pullout of U.S. and international forces.

The pullout will be a major test for Afghan security forces, with U.S. generals and other officials expressing concerns in recent weeks that it might lead to the collapse of the Afghan government in the absence of progress on stalled peace talks with the Taliban.

With reporting by AFP, Reuters, and AP
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