KABUL, Afghanistan — Powerful explosions outside a high school in Afghanistan’s capital on Saturday killed at least 50 people and wounded scores more, many of them teenage girls leaving class, in a gruesome attack that underscored fears about the nation’s future after the impending American troop withdrawal.
The blasts — and the targeting of girls as they left the Sayed Ul-Shuhada high school — came as rights groups and others were expressing alarm that the American troop withdrawal would leave women, and their educational and social gains, particularly vulnerable.
The hope surrounding the U.S. deal with the Taliban on the troop withdrawal was that it might open the way for a lasting cease-fire and a respite for civilians who are being killed in horrific numbers. But the reality as American troops depart is being driven home by massacres like the one on Saturday — there has been more chaos than accord, and more fear than hope.
A car bomb was detonated in front of the school on Saturday afternoon, and as students rushed out, two more bombs were set off, said Tariq Arian, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry. Ambulances raced across the city toward the site into the evening.
In recent weeks, the Taliban’s public statements have mostly been triumphal, leaving many fearing that the insurgents will try to seize power through a bloody military victory with the American and international forces gone.
Even if some peace deal were to be reached between the Afghan government and the Taliban, something that appears less likely each day, the result would still be that the Taliban’s brand of harsh Islamist strictures, including keeping girls out of school,
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