KABUL -- Kabul students picked through the debris of shattered schools on Tuesday (July 2) looking for books, backpacks and other possessions, a day after a massive bomb ripped through the Afghan capital.
Five schools were damaged in a Taliban attack Monday (July 1) that targeted a Defence Ministry building but also shredded a mosque and a TV station.
At least six people were killed, including one child and two special-forces soldiers, the Interior Ministry said.
The bombing -- and an ensuing shootout -- wounded dozens of people including 50 children, most of whom were hurt by flying glass.
"The schools in the area have been badly damaged," said local resident Ahmad Seyar. "It is a disaster."
At one private high school near the city centre, children were allowed to return to try to retrieve whatever they could from the rubble-filled building.
One girl showed AFP cuts on her arm from school windows that shattered from the force of the blast.
Some social-media images purportedly taken at a hospital showed wounded, stunned children in school uniforms, still clutching books as they arrived for treatment.
Even worse for children
Save the Children branded the bombing "utterly deplorable", warning that "children's smaller bodies sustain more serious injuries than adults" and that the trauma of terrorist acts can stay with them for years.
Monday's bombing was followed by Taliban gunmen storming a nearby building, triggering a gun battle with special forces.
All five insurgents were killed, the Interior Ministry said in a statement late on Monday.
Atiqullah, a resident of a nearby apartment building, said the bomb had broken all the windows in his home.
"The blast was huge," he told AFP. "Two of my family members were slightly injured. Our home is badly damaged."
"Dust, dirt, blood and human bodies were everywhere," said another resident, Hamidullah.
Kabul mostly had enjoyed a lull in violence over the winter, but in recent months it has seen a string of sophisticated attacks, including one against an American non-governmental organisation in May.
The White House condemned Monday's "brazen" attack, saying it "demonstrates the Taliban's callous disregard for their fellow Afghans, who have repeatedly voiced the urgency of finding a peaceful resolution to the conflict."