French high school in Kabul targeted by bomber

An Afghan man injured in the high school explosion receives hospital treatment. Picture: AFP/Getty Images

An Afghan man injured in the high school explosion receives hospital treatment. Picture: AFP/Getty Images

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A TEENAGE suicide bomber has attacked a French-run high school in Kabul during a music performance, killing at least one person and wounding up to 20.

The victim was understood to have been German, while reports suggest the bomber may have been as young as 16.

It is the latest attack on a foreign target in the Afghan capital amid a stepped-up Taleban insurgency. It followed a suicide bombing that targeted a military minibus earlier in the day.

The school bombing took place in the amphitheatre of the French Cultural Centre, which is inside the grounds of the Estaqlal High School, also known as the Lycée Estaqlal. The school is run on contract by the French government.

According to acting interior minister, Mohammad Ayoub Salangi, casualty numbers are ­expected to climb.

“There was one killed and between 15 to 20 wounded,” said Kabul police chief General Abdul Rahman Rahimi. “Because of the smoke, it was impossible to identify the exact number of the casualties.”

One eyewitness said the bomber walked into the amphitheatre as she was leaving and detonated his explosives inside the building. “A lot of my friends are in there and I don’t know what has happened to them,” said Khadija, an artist who uses only one name.

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Other witnesses said the ­explosion happened at the back of the hall, near an array of television cameras and journalists who were covering the event.

The Afghan Journalists’ Association said at least two journalists were among the wounded in the attack.

The cultural centre was hosting a musical theatre performance called Heartbeat: Silence After The Explosion at the time of the attack.

The bombing was the latest in a string of insurgent attacks on foreign targets in Kabul, which in the past month have killed a British embassy security guard and a South African ­charity worker and his two teenage ­children.

Analysts say the Taleban is choosing foreign targets to ensure maximum publicity.

Six Afghan soldiers were killed in the earlier minibus explosion and another ten people were wounded, said Farid ­Afzali, the chief of criminal investigation for Kabul police, adding that the wounded included civilians.

“The suicide bomber was on foot,” said Hashmat Stanikzai, spokesman for the Kabul provincial police chief. The Taleban claimed responsibility for the attack.

Five Afghan school children were also reported killed in a foreign forces air strike, local officials said.

Yesterday’s bombing comes after almost a two-week lull in Taleban attacks in Kabul in the wake of a wave of bombings on guesthouses, government officials and vehicles of foreign aid workers in the heavily-guarded capital last month.

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