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Videos Emerge of Suicide Bombing at Kabul School During Play About Suicide Bombing

A teenage suicide bomber blew himself up in the auditorium of a Kabul high school on Thursday in the middle of a drama performance about suicide bombings.
Image via YouTube

A teenage suicide bomber blew himself up in the auditorium of a Kabul high school on Thursday in the midst of a drama performance about suicide bombings.

The latest attack, which killed at least one person — a German man — and injured 16 others, struck the French Cultural Center, located inside Kabul's prestigious and heavily secured Lycee Esteqlal high school, where the auditorium was packed for the performance. French officials said "several" people were killed in the attack.

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A few in the audience were recording the show at the time of the attack, and in one of the videos a person can be heard saying "It's all part of the show." The play, titled Heartbeat: Silence After the Explosion, was a condemnation of suicide attacks.

Dust and silence after a huge suicide blast in a theatre show in — Arif Ammar (@Arif123ammar)December 11, 2014

Audience was watching this performance, 'Heartbeat', when bomb went off at Kabul high school — Sune Engel Rasmussen (@SuneEngel)December 11, 2014

The video below, by local news organization Tolo News, shows a longer excerpt of the play and then cuts to the aftermath of the attack.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack because the play was staged "to insult Islamic values and spread propaganda about our jihad operations, especially on suicide attacks," spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.

Police said that the body of the bomber was in pieces, but that they were able to identify him as a teenager aged from 15 to 17 years old because his head was found in one piece.

"I heard a deafening explosion… There were Afghans, foreigners, young girls, and young boys watching the show," Sher Ahmad, an Afghan rights activist who was at the event, told Reuters. "Pieces of flesh were plastered on the wall. There were children and women crying for help. Some were running out, some were just screaming."

The video below shows the scene outside the school, following the attack.

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Kabul suicide attack on UK embassy vehicle kills five. Read more here.

Another attack in Kabul on Thursday left six Afghan soldiers dead when a suicide bomber struck the bus they were riding. Today's violence is just the latest in an escalating series of attacks in the country, which most foreign troops are scheduled to leave by the end of the month. In November, Kabul's police chief resigned amid the growing violence.

Afghan forces, which have taken over security operations, have seen record casualties in recent months — with 4,634 killed this year alone. By comparison, 2,210 American soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan since the 2001 invasion.

Earlier this week, NATO and US officials held a ceremony to formally mark the end of combat operations in Afghanistan. However, at least 13,000 foreign troops will remain in the country past the New Year's, including up to 10,800 US ones.

Obama's secret extension of the US role in Afghanistan should come as no surprise. Read more here.

Follow Alice Speri on Twitter: @alicesperi