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Emerging reports suggest that about 30 people have been killed, following a deadly terrorist attack against a military hospital in Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul.
The attack for which the Islamic State (IS) outfit claimed responsibility, has drawn wide condemnation.
About 50 other persons were wounded after four human-bombers struck Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan Hospital in fortified Wazir Akbar Khan diplomatic district Wednesday morning, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.
Xinhuanet reports that President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani denounced the bloody attack as a coward terrorist act and vowed that Afghan government won’t talk to terrorists, who are killing the innocent people of Afghanistan.
“According to international humanitarian laws, hospitals are immune from attacks. The Wednesday’s terrorist attack clearly evinces that terrorists don’t follow any rules and laws,” the president said in a statement.
Among the casualties were doctors, patients and civilian staff of the 400-bed hospital, according to the defense ministry statement.
President Ghani also ordered concerned security entities to bring to justice all those involved in the heinous crime besides instructing the health authorities to provide best medical treatment for the wounded.
Afghan government’s Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) also condemned the deadly attack in its strongest terms.
“This morning, attackers reportedly disguised as medical doctors detonated a human-bomber body-borne IED at the entrance gate to the hospital, after which several attackers armed with AK-47s, grenades and human-bomber vests entered the facility. The armed attackers proceeded to target patients and medical workers before Afghan security forces ended the assault.
“Islamic State operatives claimed responsibility for the attack. The UNAMA continues to verify the number of civilian casualties, which are reportedly high,” UNAMA said in a statement.
“This egregious and morally reprehensible attack targeted people at their most vulnerable, while they were receiving treatment in the hospital, and also targeted the medical staff caring for them,” Pernille Kardel, the Secretary-General’s deputy special representative for Afghanistan and acting head of UNAMA, was quoted in the statement.
“This cowardly attack reflects a fundamental rejection of the most basic principles of humanity,” she said. “Without question, it amounts to an atrocity, and the perpetrators must be held accountable.”
“Attacks on hospitals are a heinous crime against humanity and humanitarian law. No justification possible,” the Afghanistan ICRC twitted.
“The attack on the Kabul military hospital is reprehensible and we condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms. Once again insurgents show complete disrespect for humanity by attacking a hospital. We stand with Afghan people against terrorism,” NATO-led Resolute Support Mission said in a statement.
Several injured remained in critical conditions. And many women were among the victims.
The attack came as the country was marking the International Women’s Day, which falls on March 8.
More than 3,490 civilians were killed and over 7,920 others injured in conflict-related incidents across Afghanistan last year, according to figures released by the UNAMA.
It will be recalled that 7months ago, two human bombers struck a peaceful protest by a Shia minority group in the Afghan capital, Kabul, killing at least 80 and injuring 231 demonstrators.
The attack, the worst in months in terms of casualties, was claimed by terrorist group Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.
They confirmed that two of its fighters detonated explosive belts at a gathering of Shiites. According to presidential spokesman Haroon Chakhansuri, one of the human bombers was shot by the police.
The march was organized by ethnic Hazaras to demand the government to pass a major power transmission line through their province where electricity is a luxury.
The Hazaras mainly live in central Afghanistan, Hazara Town in Balochistan, Pakistan and Karachi. They are overwhelmingly Twelver Shia Muslims and make up the third largest ethnic group in Afghanistan.
Although Afghanistan has been historically one of the poorest countries in the world, the Hazarajat region has been kept even more poor from development by past governments.