Kabul, Afghanistan, May 10, 2021 — The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is horrified and outraged by this weekend’s barbaric bomb attack on the Sayed-u-Shohada Girls’ School in Afghanistan where more than 50 people, including girls, have been killed and numerous others injured. IRC staff have lost family members and friends in this senseless attack, and others are still waiting to hear about their safety.
Vicki Aken, Afghanistan Country Director at the International Rescue Committee, said
“Afghanistan continues to be one of the most dangerous places for civilians and children, and attacks targeting them is a gross violation of international humanitarian law. Women and girls should never be a target of violence, and yet, in Afghanistan, they continue to be. Attacks on schools and children are attacks on the future of the country. After decades of conflict, Afghanistan’s children have suffered enough. Schools must be a safe place for all Afghan children to thrive, not places they fear for their lives. We condemn this attack in the strongest terms and stand in solidarity with the families of the victims, including IRC staff, who mourn the loss of their loved ones during the holy month of Ramadan. Those responsible for this horrendous attack must be held to account as a step in breaking the cycle of violence in Afghanistan”
Afghanistan is seeing a concerning uptick in attacks since the now expired May 1 deadline for US troop withdrawal, adding to the already devastating situation created by ongoing conflict, climate change and COVID-19. Half of the country now lives in poverty and as G7 members commit to preventing and addressing famine, half of all children under five are going hungry.
All parties in Afghanistan must stop this terrible violence immediately. The IRC calls on the US and the international community to continue to support the efforts made towards peace and the progress seen over the past 20 years. Peace is the only way to ensure the country can recover from years of conflict and the compounding impacts of COVID-19, and to ensure that progress, particularly for women and girls, continues to be made.
With more than 18 million people in need of humanitarian aid, Afghanistan is facing an acute emergency, ranking second on the IRC’s 2021 emergency Watchlist - a global list of humanitarian crises that are expected to deteriorate the most over the coming year. The IRC has been working in Afghanistan since 1988 providing aid to the most vulnerable. With more than 1,700 staff and volunteers, the IRC reaches more than a million Afghans each year with education, protection, water and sanitation, emergency response, and economic recovery programmes
The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 29 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue-uk.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.