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Families Criticize Afghan Government For Not Preventing Attacks


In Afghanistan today, families affected by a suicide bombing are saying their government is not doing enough to prevent violence. The bombing targeted a Shiite cultural center in Kabul yesterday. It killed 41 people. Many more were wounded. But as NPR's Diaa Hadid reports from Islamabad, the Afghan government faces a lot of challenges.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Foreign language spoken).

DIAA HADID, BYLINE: The anger is palpable. One man tells a local news channel, TOLO, that all those killed were ordinary people. None were the sons of officials. The government vowed to investigate the attack. That's little comfort to residents. One researcher estimates ISIS inflicted nearly 20 attacks this year in Kabul. Kiran Nazish is writing a book on Afghanistan's security threats. She says the age of ISIS bombers is the first challenge to quelling the group in Kabul. Yesterday's attack, as she says, was...

KIRAN NAZISH: A young child who looks roughly around 12, 13 maybe. The last three attacks, at least that we've seen - that they are - all the suicide bombers are young children.

HADID: Many are out of school, and they want what they see as adventure. And some are...

NAZISH: Young boys who have been taken by - both by Taliban and by ISIS because their families did not - could not afford to, you know, feed them anymore.

HADID: Kabul is also filled with chief targets for ISIS - Shiites and security forces. And attacks there show the Western-backed government is weak. This is Borhan Osman. He's a senior researcher with the Crisis Group.

BORHAN OSMAN: It is attractive and morale-boosting for the group to carry out attacks which can easily make big headlines.

NAZISH: Osman says bombing the group's heartland in eastern Afghanistan is not enough. The country needs an effective counter-extremist strategy. Otherwise, he says, residents are losing faith in the government, and that could invite even more chaos. Diaa Hadid, NPR News, Islamabad.

(SOUNDBITE OF LOSCIL'S "CHARLIE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Diaa Hadid chiefly covers Pakistan and Afghanistan for NPR News. She is based in NPR's bureau in Islamabad. There, Hadid and her team were awarded a Murrow in 2019 for hard news for their story on why abortion rates in Pakistan are among the highest in the world.