Afghan women brave "brutal" Taliban response to protest "genocide" attack on ethnic Hazaras

Taliban security forces confront Afghan women marching during a demonstration they call "Stop Hazara genocide," a day after a suicide bomb attack at a higher education center in Kabul's Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood killed about 50 mostly-female members of the Hazara ethnic group, October 1, 2022. AFP via Getty

The deadly attack on students preparing for exams in a packed hall in Afghanistan's capital has brought a wave of protests, with young women appearing to lead the cries for justice despite the risks of speaking out in a country controlled by the Taliban. Female students in several provinces have protested over the Friday attack on a higher education center in Kabul that killed more than 50 people and left scores more injured.

The vast majority of the victims of the attack were young women and girls, according to the United Nations office in the country and officials from the KAAJ Higher Educational Center that was hit by the suicide bombing.

The attack struck Kabul's western Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood, which is heavily populated by members of the Hazara Shitte Muslim ethnicity. Afghanistan's Hazaras have been targeted for years by the ISIS branch in the country and the Taliban, both of which view Hazaras as heretics. Many people consider the ongoing attacks against the community acts of genocide against Hazaras, one of the largest but most oppressed ethnic groups in Afghanistan.

Relatives and medical staff remove a wounded girl from an ambulance outside a hospital in Kabul, September 30, 2022, following a suicide blast at a learning center in the Dasht-e-Barchi area of Afghanistan's capital. AFP via Getty