An Afghan special force rescuing a baby after a hospital came under attack in west Kabul

At least 40 killed in complex attacks in Kabul and Nangarhar

As many as 40 people were killed and 84 others wounded in two separate and complex attacks in the capital Kabul and eastern Nangarhar province.

According to authorities, 16 civilians, including two newborn babies, have been killed and 16 others were wounded in a complex attack carried out by three armed men today, May 12, on a hospital situated in PD13 of Kabul city.  

Wahidullah Mayar, spokesperson for the Ministry of Public Health, confirmed that 16 civilians were dead. He urged the warring parties not to target health workers and medical facilities.  

The medical complex which is located in Barchi, a predominantly Hazara neighborhood of western Kabul, is a general hospital with 100 beds and a separate maternity facility. The maternity facility is funded by the Médecins Sans Frontières which is often crowded with new deliveries.    

The attack started at around 10:00 am and lasted almost for four and a half hours. All three assailants were killed by Afghan security forces.

Afghan Special Forces arrived in the area on the occasion and cordoned of the attack site to launch a counter attack, the Afghan ministry of interior says.

Security forces rescued over 100 civilians, including the hospital’s staffs, women, children and three foreign nationals who were working there. Images circulated on social media show Afghan Special Forces take newborn babies on their shoulders and rescue them.

In another attack, 24 civilians lost their lives and 68 others were wounded when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives in funeral ceremony of a former local police commander in a mosque in Khewa district of the eastern Nagarhar province. Shah Mehmood Miakhel, the governor of the province, confirmed that 24 civilians were killed and 68 others were wounded.

The death toll is expected to rise.  

Attaullah Khogyani, spokesperson for the governor, told Kabul Now that Abdullah Malikzai, a member of the provincial council, was also killed in the attack which occurred today, May 12, around 11:00 am. He added that MP Malik Qais Noor Agha Malikzai was also wounded in the attack.

An Afghan man taking a wounded man to hospital in Nangarhar province

The Taliban have denied responsibility for the two deadly attacks.

On the other hand, one civilian was killed and 13 people were wounded, including three policemen, in two separate mine explosions took place in Sabri district of the eastern Khost province and in its capital city today, May 12, said Adel Haidar, spokesperson for police chief of the province.

The complex attacks are followed by several deadly Taliban attacks that killed 27 people, mostly pro-government forces, a day earlier in Laghman, Ghor, and Paktia provinces. According to local authorities, around 11 others were wounded in the attacks.

A huge hike in violence in the country comes months after a peace deal was signed between the US and the Taliban on February 29. As expected by US officials, violence was expected to be reduced by all sides to 80 percent, with the peace deal signed by Washington and the Taliban.

The country is facing a rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak that has so far taken 127 lives in Afghanistan and infected a total of 4,963 others, according to official figure which seems lower than the actual number of Covid-19 cases.

The Taliban have rejected a ceasefire offer repeatedly proposed by the Afghan government and international community, arguing that it could be exploited by the government as a means of exerting or overplaying influence in the country.

Afghan leaders, diplomatic mission denounce attacks

The deadly attacks have sparked widespread reactions among Afghan political figures, the government, and some diplomatic missions.

Appearing in a press conference in Kabul, President Ghani’s spokesperson, condemned the attacks and asked the international community to condemn such attacks as well. He underlined that the rise in violence during the month of Ramadan has increased concerns among the people.

“Terrorist Taliban, their current or former allies or their ideological twins attacked a maternity hospital and a funeral procession killing mothers, newborn babies and innocent civilians,” First Vice President, Amrullah Saleh wrote on his twitter.

The UK embassy in Afghanistan described the Kabul hospital attack as “appalling” and Nangarhar’s funeral attack as disgusting. “Afghanistan violence needs to stop,” the diplomatic mission noted on its official twitter account.

“UNAMA expresses shock and revulsion at today’s terrorist attacks at a Kabul maternity hospital and a funeral in Nangarhar, causing significant civilian casualties,” the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said in a statement, calling for the perpetrators to face justice.

Afrasiab Khattak, a Pashtun rights activist and prominent politician of the ethnic group in the neighboring Pakistan asked that why the issues of “terror infrastructure” and terror factories with the former “still intact” and the later “still in production” are missing from framework of peace talks.

Pakistan has been accused in Afghanistan and in the region as a state sponsor of terrorist groups.  

But the Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs has “strongly condemned the cowardly attacks on a medical facility in Kabul and on a funeral in Nangarhar province.”  

Hamdullah Mohib, the Afghan National Security Advisor, in a tweeter post has said that the Taliban and their sponsors do not intend to pursue peace.