Newborns Among 16 Killed After Gunmen Storm Hospital And Open Fire On Maternity Ward
Sixteen people have been killed after gunmen stormed a maternity hospital in Afghanistan and opened fire.
The Kabul clinic is run by the international humanitarian organisation Doctors Without Borders, also known as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).
Three gunmen disguised themselves as police officers and entered the facility in the country's capital in the morning. Government officials say the attackers used firearms and grenades in the attack, which claimed the lives of two newborns.
A doctor told the AFP news agency: "The hospital was full of patients and doctors, there was total panic inside."
A further 15 people, including mothers, nurses and babies, were injured.
MSF Afghanistan tweeted confirmation that the hospital was under attack, writing: "The Dasht-e-Barchi Hospital in Kabul, where @MSF runs the maternity, was attacked. Explosions and gunfire were reported. Efforts are still on-going to evacuate patients and staff."
After a drawn out battle with security forces, the three gunmen were eventually killed.
Human rights organisations Amnesty International says the attack is unconscionable.
"The unconscionable war crimes in Afghanistan today, targeting a maternity hospital and a funeral, must awaken the world to the horrors civilians continue to face," the group said on Twitter.
"There must be accountability for these grave crimes."
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No groups have yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
On the same day, the eastern Nangarhar province was rocked by a suicide bombing that claimed the lives of 24 people, with a further 68 wounded.
The bomber targeted a funeral for a local pro-government militia commander and former warlord who had died of a heart attack.
Islamic State were responsible for four other bombings in Kabul on Monday (11 May), which injured four people.
A ceasefire between the Taliban and US forces had been in effect for the past six weeks, according to The Washington Post. While the Taliban didn't fully commit to avoiding attacks, it did agree to limit them by up to 80 percent.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has condemned the attacks and called on Afghan officials to get the situation under control.
"The Taliban and the Afghan government should cooperate to bring the perpetrators to justice," Pompeo's statement read.
"As long as there is no sustained reduction in violence and insufficient progress towards a negotiated political settlement, Afghanistan will remain vulnerable to terrorism."
Pentagon spokesperson Army Lt. Col. Thomas Campbell said the US Army would continue to conduct airstrikes on targets to defend Afghan forces.
"As the secretary of defence stated recently, this is going to be a windy, bumpy road," Campbell said.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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