Afghan hospital attackers came to kill mothers, says MSF

A nurse on Friday feeding a rescued baby after the mother was killed.   | Photo Credit: AFP

Gunmen who stormed a hospital in the Afghan capital this week had come to “kill the mothers”, a medical charity said, as survivors expressed shock and horror at the gruesome attack.

At least 24 people were killed — including newborns, mothers and nurses — when three armed men rampaged through the maternity ward of the Barchi National Hospital in Kabul on Tuesday, in an attack that sparked international outrage.

The U.S. later said the deadly assault was carried out by the Islamic State group.

“What I saw in the maternity hospital demonstrates it was a systematic shooting of the mothers,” said Frederic Bonnot on Thursday, the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) head in Afghanistan, who visited the facility a day after the attack.

‘A methodical attack’

“They went through the rooms in the maternity, shooting women in their beds. It was methodical.

“Walls sprayed with bullets, blood on the floors in the rooms, vehicles burnt out and windows shot through,” he said in a statement. MSF, which runs the maternity ward at the hospital, said at the time of the attack 26 mothers were being cared for at the Barchi National Hospital in west Kabul.

When the attack began, shooting and explosions could be heard from the safe room where several had taken refuge, said Mr. Bonnot. “They came to kill the mothers,” he added.

Afghan officials in Kabul blamed the Taliban. “Neither the Taliban hands nor their stained consciousness can be washed of the blood of women, babies & other innocent in the latest senseless carnage,” Afghan Vice-President Amrullah Saleh tweeted.

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Printable version | Oct 26, 2021 2:45:57 PM |

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