Kabul hospital attack: At least 25 dead after blasts hit military hospital in Afghanistan

Gunfire was also reported, with several attackers seen entering the premises, witnesses said

At least 25 people have been killed and 34 wounded by twin explosions at Afghanistan's biggest military hospital in Kabul on Tuesday, a Taliban security source told The National.

Interior ministry spokesman Qari Saeed Khosty said the blasts took place at the entrance of the 400-bed Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan hospital. The cause has not been confirmed, but witnesses said they saw several attackers entering the premises and heard gunfire after the blasts.

The hospital treats wounded soldiers from both the Taliban and former Afghan security forces.

Another Taliban official said the attack was carried out by six men, and that two of them were captured.

Photographs shared by residents showed a plume of smoke over the area of the blasts.

Roads close to the heavily fortified "Green Zone" where the buildings of several former Western embassies were located were closed off to traffic and Taliban guards scaled up searches.

Families of the victims gathered outside the War and Trauma Hospital near the explosion site as ambulances, army vehicles and people in cars dropped off the injured at the doors.

Sayed Hashim, whose name has been changed for his safety, was working in his shop close to the hospital when he heard the “loud and powerful” explosions.

“The first one knocked me out of my chair, and the whole shop shook,” he told The National.

“Then there was a second one, and there was a lot of smoke and dust. But before we could make sense of what was happening, we heard heavy gunfire. I started to run [out of the shop] to the hospital.”

Mr Hashim was looking for his 16-year-old cousin, who runs a food cart outside the hospital.

“Luckily, I located my cousin, hiding close to one of the walls of the hospital. He is fine now and nothing happened to him, but he was crying when I found him.”

He added gunfire was still continuing more than two hours after the blasts.

ISIS, 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.

The Taliban is under increasing pressure from the public to stem the attacks.

“When the Taliban took over Kabul, they promised to bring security and stability in our lives, but so far, they could not fulfil their promise. It is very disappointing,” said Mr Hashim.

“They were always blaming the previous Afghan government for doing nothing for the country. But now is the time to ask them, what are you doing about securing the country?”

The attack compounds other problems faced by medical workers in Afghanistan. Many had been unpaid for months before the Taliban swept across Afghanistan and funding problems are worsening.

The US froze Afghan assets in American accounts shortly after the takeover, in line with international sanctions, crippling Afghanistan’s banking sector. International monetary organizations that once funded 75 per cent of state expenditures paused disbursements, precipitating an economic crisis in the aid-dependent nation.

Health is acutely affected. World Bank allocations funded 2,330 out of Afghanistan’s 3,800 medical facilities, including the salaries of health workers, the Taliban’s Deputy Health Minister Abdulbari Umer told AP.

Updated: November 3rd 2021, 5:30 AM
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