At Least 19 Killed As Blasts Hit Kabul Hospital
At least 19 people were killed and over 50 wounded in the two explosions followed by gunfire near Afghanistan’s biggest military hospital in Kabul, a Taliban security official claims.
The explosions took place on Tuesday at the entrance of the 400-bed Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan hospital in central Kabul and security forces had been sent to the area, Interior ministry spokesman Qari Saeed Khosty said.
The first explosion took place in front of Sardar Mohammad Dawood Khan hospital, while the second explosion occurred in an area close to the hospital, reported Afghanistan’s TOLO News.
Italian aid group Emergency, which runs a trauma hospital some 3 km from the site of the blast, said nine wounded had been brought in so far.
Photographs and video footage doing rounds on social media showed a plume of smoke over the area and gunfire is heard.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blasts.
However, going by Afghanistan’s Bakhtar news agency, eye-witnesses have told it that a number of fighters from the Islamic State group had entered the hospital and clashed with security forces.
A health worker at the hospital, who managed to escape, said he heard a large explosion followed by a couple of minutes of gunfire. About ten minutes later, there was a second, larger explosion, he said.
The blasts add to a growing list of attacks and killings since the Taliban completed their victory over the previous Western-backed government in August, undermining their claim to have restored security to Afghanistan after decades of war.
According to Reuters, Islamic State, which has carried out a series of attacks on mosques and other targets since the Taliban’s seizure of Kabul in August, mounted a complex attack on the hospital in 2017, killing more than 30 people.
The group’s attacks have caused mounting worries outside Afghanistan about the potential for the country to become a haven for militant groups as it was when an al Qaeda group attacked the United States in 2001.
The concern has been worsened by a spiralling economic crisis that has threatened millions with poverty as winter approaches. The abrupt withdrawal of international support following the Taliban victory has brought Afghanistan’s fragile economy to the brink of collapse just as a severe drought has threatened millions with hunger.