KABUL: Almost 40 people were killed in two separate militant attacks in Afghanistan on Tuesday, with one official describing an assault on a maternity hospital as a “crime against humanity.”
The attack on the 100-bed facility, run by Medicins Sans Frontiers, took place in a Shiite-populated area of Kabul and involved three gunmen. Residents told Arab News that they heard blasts and gunfire after two of the assailants, dressed in military uniform, made their way into the hospital.
Images provided by the government showed several infants, one of them wrapped in a blood-stained towel, being carried by armed police.
“The attack on the hospital killed 14 people, including two infants, several women and nurses,” said Tariq Aryan, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry. “The raid is a crime against humanity and international law. Police rescued 100 people, including three foreigners, following several hours of gunfire exchange, he added.
The associate Asia director for Human Rights Watch, Patricia Gossman, condemned the assault. “A deliberate attack on a hospital is a war crime,” she tweeted. “Those paying the price for this heinous act are patients, doctors, nurses, other medical staff, as well as Afghan civilians, including children, put in harm’s way.”
The second strike was on a funeral procession for a local police chief which was taking place in a district of eastern Nangarhar province. It included lawmakers and provincial council members.
Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for Nangarhar’s governor, told Arab News that at least 25 people had lost their lives and nearly 60 were wounded.
Mohammad Omar, a member of the provincial council, told Arab News that the target could have been Lala Khan, a council member who in the past had close ties with US intelligence and coordinated its military operations against Al-Qaeda and Daesh affiliates. Khan and two of his brothers were killed in the attack, he said.