- Ashraf Ghani has ordered for the resumption of a full attack against the Taliban and other militant groups.
- The massacre began when attackers stormed the hospital hurling grenades and shooting at anyone.
- In the Nangarhar attack, a suicide bomber detonated explosives at a crowd gathered for the burial ceremony of a police officer.
At least 16, people including two newborn babies, were killed after gunmen attacked a hospital in Kabul on Tuesday. Shortly afterward, 24 people were killed and 68 others injured during a burial ceremony in Nangarhar Province. The interior ministry said that among the dead were mothers, nurses and infants, and around 100 people were rescued from the building.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has condemned the attacks on innocent citizens. “I strongly condemn the recent attacks in a hospital in Kabul and Nangarhar province which killed innocent people including women and children,” Ghani said while addressing the nation on Tuesday. The president has ordered for the resumption of a full attack against the Taliban and other militant groups, since they have refused to heed to calls of reducing the violence and embracing peace.
“In order to provide security for public places and to thwart the attacks and threats from the Taliban and other terror groups, I’m ordering Afghan security forces to switch from an active defense mode to an offensive and to resume their operations against the enemies,” President Ghani said.
The US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has called the attacks evil and appalling, especially because they happened during the month of Ramadan and amid the coronavirus pandemic. “Any attack on innocent is unforgivable, but to attack infants and women in labor,” he said, “is an act of sheer evil.” Pompeo added, “terrorists who attack mourners lining up for prayer at a funeral are only seeking to tear apart the bonds that hold families and communities.”
The maternity wing of the hospital in Kabul is run by Doctors Without Borders, Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF). The international organization confirmed the attack. “Explosions and gunfire were reported after the hospital in the Dante-e-Barchi area of Kabul was attacked,” it said in a tweet. The attack on the maternity clinic has been highly condemned by human rights organizations and several countries, including the UK and Pakistan.
The massacre began when attackers stormed the hospital hurling grenades and shooting at anyone. Locals said they heard two blasts, then gunfire. The interior ministry said that all the three attackers were killed by police, thereby ending the assault.
After the attack, soldiers were seen racing out of the hospital, carrying infants wrapped in blood-stained shawls to waiting ambulances. An image showed a woman dead on the floor holding on to her baby who miraculously survived and had been taken to an ICU in another hospital.
In the Nangarhar attack, a suicide bomber detonated explosives at a crowd gathered for the burial ceremony of a police officer, Sheikh Akram. “Because it was a funeral of a high-profile man, many civilians were gathered there from other districts of Nangarhar. Among the people attending were Members of Parliament and Members of the council,” said Aziz Niloofar, a member of the provincial council.
No group had claimed responsibility for the attack. The Taliban has, however, denied being responsible for both attacks through its spokesperson, Zabihullah Mujahid. The hospital’s neighborhood is home to a large community of Hazaras, a minority of the Shia Muslims who are prone to attacks by the Islamic State.