“The insurgents were trying to enter by saying ‘We are the police, open the door!’, but we didn’t,” said one survivor.
After hours of fighting, the building was finally cleared by Afghan commandos in the late afternoon. Those in the basement were still reluctant to come out.
“When the army came, we thought it was still the attackers. People had to message us from outside before we would open the door,” said the survivor.
Islamic State group’s local branch claimed the attack, saying it had targeted a British “institute”. Both the Save the Children and next door Swedish Committee buildings were largely destroyed.
“One or two days after the attack, we came to the office, it looked like a graveyard, everything was ruined and destroyed, blood and bullet marks were seen everywhere,” said another source.
In Afghanistan civilian casualties are at record levels. Donald Trump’s mixed messages on a hefty American withdrawal of troops are adding to uncertainty for many Afghans.
Despite their ordeal, many of the staff are still with the charity, trying to help others despite the threats they face.