Dozens of women from Afghanistan’s minority Hazara community protested in the capital following the extremely tragic suicide bombing last week which claimed the lives of 20 people—mostly young Hazara women. The attack took place on Friday at a Kabul study hall as hundreds of pupils were taking tests in preparation for university entrance exams in the city’s Dasht-e-Barchi area. The wester neighbourhood is a predominantly Shiite Muslim enclave and home to the minority Hazara community, a minority that has been historically oppressed and has been targeted in some of the most brutal attacks in recent years.

According to the police, at least 20 people were killed however the UN has put the number at 24. The anger among the community is palpable as about 50 women took the streets and chanted, “Stop Hazara genocide, it’s not a crime to be a Shia”. Protesters later gathered in front of the hospital as dozens of heavily armed Taliban, some carrying rocket-propelled-grenade launchers, kept watch. It is quite brave of the women to take to the streets considering how women’s protests have faced crackdowns with numerous demonstrators detained and rallies broken up by Taliban forces firing shots in the air.

While no group has claimed responsibility for this attacks, the Islamic State (IS) a year earlier claimed a suicide attack on an educational centre in the same area that killed 24. IS has emerged as a key security challenge for the Taliban, but officials claim their forces have defeated the group. The Afghanistan government is clearly in denial about the growing threat of terror groups on its soil as recently it put out a defensive statement when PM Shehbaz Sharif underscored this threat during his UNGA speech.

While the Taliban have pledged to protect minorities and clamp down on security threats, groups such as Amnesty International have characterised the latest attack as a shamefaced reminder of the inaptitude and utter failure of the Taliban, as de-facto authorities, to protect the people of Afghanistan. It would be in the interest of the Afghan government and its people if an honest assessment and acknowledgement is made of the security threat posed by these groups, only then will it be possible to take concrete measures to eradicate them completely.