Babies among 14 killed as gunmen attack maternity ward in Kabul

Gunmen stormed a maternity hospital in the western part of Kabul, setting off an hours-long shootout with the police and killing 14 people, including two newborn babies, their mothers and an unspecified number of nurses.

At least 14 people were killed in the morning assault on the Barchi Hospital, officials said on Tuesday.

Security forces earlier cordoned off the area as they evacuated more than 80 women and infants from the hospital, where medical charity Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF) runs a maternity clinic.

The interior ministry spokesman, Tareq Arian, said 15 others, including women, men and children were wounded in the attack.

Three foreign nationals were among those safely evacuated, he said, without elaborating. It was unclear why the maternity hospital in Dashti Barchi, a 100-bed facility, was targeted – an attack Arian said was an “act against humanity and a war crime”.

epa08416063 An Afghan woman is brought to Emergency hospital for medical treatment after she was injured during an attack at an MSF (Doctors without Borders) clinic in Kabul, Afghanistan, 12 May 2020.
An Afghan woman brought to Emergency hospital after she was injured during the attack at the MSF clinic [Jawad Jalali/EPA]

At least three attackers wearing police uniforms entered the hospital located in the Dashti Barchi neighbourhood of Kabul, throwing grenades and shooting, officials said.

A paediatrician who fled the hospital told AFP news agency he heard a loud explosion at the entrance of the building in Dashti Barchi, a mostly Shia neighbourhood that has seen past attacks by the ISIL (ISIS) armed group.

“The hospital was full of patients and doctors, there was total panic inside,” the doctor said, asking not to be named.

Amnesty International South Asia@amnestysasia

The unconscionable in today, targeting a maternity hospital and a funeral, must awaken the world to the horrors civilians continue to face. There must be accountability for these grave crimes, and civilians must be protected. 



#Kabul: Ministry of Interior says special forces have arrived in the area & clash is ongoing. So far 72 civilians, including women & children, have been rescued from the #hospital under attack.

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The 100-bed government-run facility is supported by MSF, said Wahidullah Mayar, a spokesman for the ministry of public health.

In the evening hours, husbands, fathers and family members of the hospital’s patients gathered around the hospital, desperate for news of their loved ones.

A man read out the names of those who had been evacuated to other hospitals.

Deadly bombing

In the suicide bombing in the eastern Nangarhar province, the attacker targeted the funeral in Khewa district of a local pro-government militia commander and former warlord who had died of a heart attack on Monday night, said Attahullah Khogyani, spokesman for the provincial governor.

The interior ministry said the final casualty toll included 24 killed and 68 wounded. The wounded were brought to the Nangarhar provincial hospital, said hospital spokesman Gulzada Sangar.

Khogyani added the dead included Abdullah Lala Jan, a provincial council member, while his father Noor Agha, a politician, was wounded in the attack.

According to Zabihullah Zemarai, another provincial council member, dozens of people, including, politicians, provincial council members and locals had gathered for the funeral of Shaikh Akram, the militia commander.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid tweeted the Taliban was not involved in the attack.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack in Khost, which killed a child and wounded 10 people.

The bomb was placed in a cart at a local market and remotely detonated, said Adil Haidari, spokesman for the provincial police chief.

The ISIL, meanwhile, said it was behind a spate of attacks on Monday in Kabul when four bombs, one placed under a garbage bin and the other three by the roadside, went off in the northern part of the city, wounding four civilians, including a child.

The Afghan intelligence service said in a statement late Monday the agency arrested an ISIL leader in the region, Zia-ul Haq, also known as Shaikh Abu Omer al-Khorasani.

Smokes rises from a hospital after gunmen attacked in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, May 12, 2020. Gunmen stormed the hospital in the western part of the Afghan capital on Tuesday, setting off a gun bat
Smoke rises from the hospital stormed by gunmen in the Afghan capital, Kabul [Rahmat Gul/AP Photo]


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