• Press Release

Afghanistan: Student massacre is a war crime

August 16, 2018

Responding to the attack on a Shi’a education center in Kabul on 15 August 2018, where a bomber stormed in and killed 34 people and injured at least 56 others, Amnesty International’s South Asia Campaigner, Samira Hamidi, said:

“The deliberate targeting of civilians and the targeting of places of education is a war crime. The students killed were preparing for their university entrance exams when the bomber struck. The tragedy is compounded by the fact that this appears to have been an attack that was motivated by sectarian hatred, targeting members of the minority Shi’a religious community.

“The mounting civilian casualties show beyond any doubt that Afghanistan and, in particular, its capital Kabul, are not safe. Violence across the country over the first six months of 2018 has been at record levels. And yet people fleeing the conflict, making desperate journeys to neighboring countries and to Europe, are being turned away in the thousands. These returns are a violation of international law, breaching the principle of non-refoulement by forcing people into harm’s away.”


Afghanistan’s Ministry of Health revised the death toll from Wednesday’s bombing downwards, from 48 deaths to 34.

According to UN figures released last month, 1,692 people were killed in the first six months of 2018 – more than at any comparable period of time since records began being compiled a decade ago. Over that same period of time, 3,430 people were also injured.