By Baber Khan Sahel
Kabul, May 12 (efe-epa).- Two newborns were among 16 people shot dead on Tuesday when three gunmen stormed a maternity clinic in a hospital run by a global medical charity in the west of the Afghan capital, officials said.
In a separate attack in eastern Afghanistan, a suicide bomber hit the funeral of a police commander, killing at least 24 people and injuring nearly 70.
In Kabul, officials said, at least 16 people, including children and women, were wounded after three gunmen detonated a bomb and opened fire in the 100-bed hospital run by Doctors Without Borders in the Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood of the capital.
The attack sparked a gunfight and a hostage drama as dozens of people, including doctors, were trapped inside for hours.
The security forces rescued some 100 people, including newborn babies, their mothers, and three foreigners from the besieged hospital complex.
“They (the gunmen) entered the hospital and killed people, including two newborns, mothers of newborns, and midwives. They were hit with bullets,” Interior Ministry spokesperson Tariq Arian said in a statement.
The health ministry said 16 were civilians killed in the attack that destroyed much of the administrative and maternity buildings of the hospital.
Arian said it was the latest in a series of “crimes against humanity” but he did not blame any group for the attack.
“This is a crime against humanity and all laws and principles, this is a war crime.”
The security forces shot dead all the three attackers before calling off the operation.
Afghanistan is facing a surge in violence even as the United States in February signed a peace agreement with the Taliban on troop withdrawal from the war-ravaged country.
The Taliban and the government forces have been blaming each other for violating the agreement.
The Nangahar provincial governor’s office said in a statement that a suicide bomber detonated explosives at the funeral killing 24 mourners and wounding 67 others.
The attacker blew himself up in the middle of the funeral of Shaikh Akram, police commander, in Kuz-Kunar district of Nangarhar province, provincial governor spokesperson Attaullah Khogyanai told EFE.
Akram died last night due to a cardiac arrest,
Several government officials and a Member of Parliament, Qais Nooragha Malikzai, who was among the wounded, attended the funerary service.
No militant group claimed responsibility for the attacks on Tuesday. The Taliban distanced itself from the bombings, saying its fighters were not involved.
“The attack on a funeral ceremony in Nangarhar has nothing to do with mujahidin of the Islamic Emirate. The emirate is condemning such attacks,” spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted.
In a separate tweet, Mujahid also denied the Taliban hand in the suicide bombing at the hospital located in an area mainly inhabited by the Hazaras, a minority Shia Muslim community.