Kabul – Afghan children were being treated for horrific injuries and clinging to life at a hospital in the war-torn country's capital on Monday. More than 150 people, many of them teenage girls, were left wounded by a horrifying bomb attack on a school in Kabul over the weekend. The series of explosions on Saturday killed at least 53 people, most of them also school girls.
CBS News correspondent Charlie D'Agata was in Kabul when the attack happened, and on Monday he visited a hospital where some of the young victims were being treated.
D'Agata said that after decades of war, it takes a lot to shock the people of Afghanistan, but what happened at the school took sheer cruelty to the next level.
With her extensive internal injuries, doctors weren't sure whether 14-year-old Mariam was going to make it. They knew that 18-year-old Habiba would not survive her injuries.
Zeinab, 13, just happened to be further back from the blast that killed her classmates on the spot.
"The explosion felt like it came from the ground and the sky," she said, "and I started running."
It wasn't until after Zeinab started running from the explosion that she noticed her arm was bleeding, pierced by a chunk of shrapnel.
She told CBS News that she doesn't understand why anyone would want to kill her.
"I think they just don't want us to study," she said.
On Sunday, grieving parents laid to rest the children who didn't survive the attack. They'd sent them to school in search of a better life — in the hope of a brighter future. Those dreams are now buried with their daughters.
The Afghan Interior Ministry told CBS News that a massive car bomb right outside the school gates was followed by two more explosions, from devices planted on the street.
A vicious attack designed to kill or maim as many children as possible, initiated right after the bell rang, just as the schoolgirls came rushing out.
The bombing underscores the widespreadas they start to head home. Afghan security forces are already overwhelmed trying to push back militants on the battlefield while keeping civilians safe at home.
Zeinab told D'Agata that she still didn't know what had happened to her friends, but she's determined to return to school when she can.
"If I get scared, they will hit us again," she said. "Then I won't be able to study."
The Taliban have said they had nothing to do with the attack, and the insurgent group also declared a three-day ceasefire from the start of the Muslim holiday of Eid later this week.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but ISIS' branch in the country has a history of bombing the area, which is home to many ethnic Hazara Shiite Muslims. The Sunni Muslim extremists of ISIS have a history of attacking Shiites across many countries.