KABUL -- Gunmen stormed a maternity hospital in Kabul Tuesday (May 12), killing at least 14 people -- including newborns, mothers and nurses -- while a suicide blast at a funeral in Nangarhar Province killed two dozen mourners.
Three gunmen held the Barchi National Hospital in Kabul for hours after the early-morning attack before security forces killed them in a clearance operation, the Interior Ministry said.
Heavily armed security personnel were seen carrying infants away from the scene -- at least one wrapped in a blood-soaked blanket.
"The fatalities also include mothers and nurses," said Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian.
Fifteen people were wounded and more than 100, including three foreign nationals, were rescued, he said.
The hospital is supported by the humanitarian organisation Doctors without Borders (MSF), and a number of foreigners were working there.
The hospital is situated in the west of the city, home to the capital's minority Shia Hazara community -- a frequent target of the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS).
A paediatrician who fled the hospital told AFP he heard a loud explosion at the entrance of the building.
"The hospital was full of patients and doctors, there was total panic inside," he said, asking not to be named.
Tuesday's attack was the latest to hit the country's already stretched health sector, with facilities and medical personnel frequently targets of the militant groups' violence.
"We call on all sides to stop attacking hospitals and health workers," said Dr. Waheed Majroh, deputy minister at the Afghan Public Health Ministry.
Around an hour after the Kabul assault, a suicide bomber killed at least 24 people at the funeral of a local police commander in Nangarhar Province, according to provincial spokesman Ataullah Khogyani.
The attacker detonated explosives in the middle of the ceremony.
Thousands of mourners had gathered for the funeral, said Amir Mohammad, a wounded survivor of the explosion.
The Taliban denied involvement in both attacks.
No mercy for innocent civilians
The violence comes just a day after four roadside bombs detonated in less than 90 minutes in Kabul, wounding four civilians including a child, police said.
The "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) took responsibility for all those bombings.
They took place in the capital's 17th District, an area where Afghanistan's intelligence agency on May 5 busted a joint ISIS-Haqqani Network cell accused of carrying out several recent terrorist acts.
The cell was responsible for an attack on March 25 on a Sikh temple in Kabul that killed at least 25 worshippers as well as another on an outdoor ceremony in Kabul to mark the 25th anniversary of the Taliban murder of Shia leader Abdul Ali Mazari on March 6.
That massacre killed at least 27 people, including women and children, and wounded another 29, according to the Interior Ministry.
The ISIS-Haqqani cell was also behind a rocket attack that targeted the swearing-in ceremony of President Ashraf Ghani at the Presidential Palace on March 9, the National Directorate of Security (NDS) said.
ISIS has suffered mounting setbacks after being hunted by US and Afghan forces.
Afghan forces recently arrested three senior ISIS leaders in Kabul, the Interior Ministry and the NDS said a joint statement on Monday (May 11).
NDS forces in co-operation with Police Special Forces Unit 222 captured Zia-ul-Haq (also known as Abu Omar al-Khorasani), the leader of ISIS for South and East Asia, along with Saheeb, director of public relations, and Abu Ali, the head of the group's intelligence branch, the statement said.
The operation took place after four arrested ISIS members provided information to the NDS, it added.
They should capture everyone of the ISIS militants and cut their fingers and toes one by one.Reply
The attack on maternity hospital is the most heinous crime that a human has ever committed on earth. There is no more cruelty than killing a newborn baby who has newly come to the world. On doomsday, God will ask about these babies as what crime they have been killed for? Death to ISIS and its supporters.Reply
After all, this is our condition. Some of us follow Muhaqiq, others follow Ghani, while others follow Abdullah. We follow them like dogs and tear our throats by chanting slogans, such as: “I am dying for you. We will shed our blood on your path. May my wife and children get sacrificed for you.” We are flattering for them. Our fate will not get better than this. Everyone is seeking their own interests not only in this country, but this is the rule or regulation in all countries of the world. You sold your vote, honesty and prestige for 10 kg rice or flour and so on. Killing of these babies and women is the result of your vote. It is just the beginning; the future of us stupid people will be worse than now. At that time we will be praying 1000 times for Dr. Najibullah, his humanitarian policies and for support of his government.Reply
Sadly this is the reality that Afghans are facing with everyday. So who is to blame? the people? terrorists or the government and its allies (the US in particular) who agreed on/signed a deal with Taliban to free thousands of their militants from the prisons as a gesture/condition to reduce violence, start intra Afghan negotiations and pave the road to peace? People are losing their hope/dream of reaching a ceasefire/peace as well as their trust in the government and international peace brokers and communities. It's enough, no more blood to bleed.Reply
Attack on maternity hospital and shooting out new born babies and women is extremely cruelty, audacity, stupidity and vile. This act is thoroughly far from human reason. By God, the stupidity and impudence of this barbaric act cannot be expressed in words. God declares innocent child as pure and free from sin, but you, the dirty devil and cursed ones say, No, “child must be killed”. Now make judgment yourselves. Aren’t you Pharaoh and Nimrod of this time??? Azrael, who takes the souls of all the creatures, wept when he took the life of a mother. When he was asked by God why he wept; he answered that it was very difficult for him to separate a mother from her child. You the generation of Genghis, and devil, what would be your answer to God? Not only you who had guns in their hands and committed this horrible act, but all those who helped you in this crime are responsible before God. Curse on such a government which condemns the crimes only in words, but it does not deal with the perpetrators that seriously.Reply
The attack on women and maternity hospital in Kabul shows the culmination of terror of the terrorist groups. There is no more cruelty than this one. When the most innocent human beings (new born babies) are killed, and terrorists have no mercy on them, it is clear that they were appointed to kill people, and they have no other plans but to kill people. The government must immediately execute all members of ISIS who are arrested, and ISIS members must not be kept in prison and given food. The place of ISIS is in hell; they must be sent directly to hell. There is no weaker government in the world than that of the Kabul government. Ashraf Ghani should step down from power and apologize from the people that he failed to govern properly and provide security for the people. In Afghanistan, there must be a dictatorial president like Daud Khan. This system of democracy does not work in this country, because in democratic systems there is no capital punishment (i.e. execution) for criminals. Everyone commits a crime and then you see that he is released. A few months ago, a man named Abdul Hameed Khorasani was arrested by the government. He was accused of killing military personnel and civilians, and he even warned and threatened the government. He was detained by the government and was sentenced for 20 years imprisonment, but a few days ago, he was released by the government, and people are saying that he was released by Amrullah Saleh, the first Vice President. Is it the authority ofReply
When it comes to death, I would not tolerate seeing even a bird to die, but the fact is that Hazaras have begun interfering everywhere. During the American invasion of Afghanistan, more than half of the interpreters hired by Titan American company who worked as a contractor for US army were Hazaras. They were introducing even a Pashtun farmer and gardener as a Taliban and Al-Qaida member to Americans, and they were either killing him or putting him in Bagram, Kandahar and other prisons for years. However, these Hazara interpreters did not know Pashto, but because the person who worked with Titan company in America was Hazara, they were hiring all the interpreters from the Hazara community or from the Tajik [ethnic group] in the name of Pashto interpreters. Anyway, this does not mean that, God forbid, now terrorists should come and kill all of the Hazaras. On the other hand these Hazara brothers work as slaves of Iran in a way as if they are spies of the revolutionary guard. Even Muhaqiq goes and kisses hands of Khamenei, at a time when Khamenie knows well about the cruelties of Iranian intelligence in Afghanistan; however, this son of hypocrite does not prevent them, and additionally he values them to interfere in Afghanistan further as praising of a criminal and killer of Afghans like Qasem Soleimani is a living example. Instead these Hazara brothers do labor work in Iran, or come and live a normal life in their own country. They joined for the program of revolutionary guardReply
And if they have children and families, they will become orphans and widows and will again become a burden for Afghanistan in the future. Besides, look at the decade of 1990s, there were warlords, Gulbadin Hekmatyar leader of the ethnic Pashtuns, Ahmad Shah Massoud leader of the ethnic Tajiks, Abdul Ali Mazari leader of the ethnic Hazaras and Abdur Rashid Dostum leader of the ethnic Uzbeks and they not only killed their people but people of other ethnic groups and areas as well. They themselves were criminals and violators of the human rights; however, they still celebrate their death anniversary. Anyway, may God bring peace to Afghanistan, and may God no more bring sorrow to anyone's home. Afghans either if they are Pashtuns, Hazaras, Uzbek and Tajik… all are brother ethnic groups and they are colorful flowers of the garden of Afghanistan, but they have to consider the benefits and loses of Afghanistan whenever they are doing anything. Ah ok, I forgot about the ISIS. Either if Pashtuns work with ISIS or Tajik or others, all of them are cursed because ISIS kill innocent people and this group is established by Pakistan and Saudi intelligence agencies. This is the (2nd part) because all the words were not finished there.Reply