MONITORING (SW) – The deadly string of terrorist attacks on a hospital in Kabul and funeral prayers in Nangarhar have been widely condemned by the Afghan government, international community and rights groups.
At least 14 people were killed, including two newborn babies, when gunmen attacked a maternity hospital in Kabul on Tuesday.
Another 24 civilians lost their lives when a suicide bomber targeted a funeral prayers gathers in Nanagarhar province on the same day.
Strongly condemning the attack, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani directed security and defense forces to come out of the defensive posture and adopt full offensive posture against terrorists in the wake of this attack.
The United States also condemned in the strongest terms the two horrific terrorist attacks in Afghanistan. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said in a statement that during the holy month of Ramadan and amidst the threat of COVID-19, these dual attacks are particularly appalling. “We note the Taliban have denied any responsibility and condemned both attacks as heinous. The Taliban and the Afghan government should cooperate to bring the perpetrators to justice. As long as there is no sustained reduction in violence and insufficient progress towards a negotiated political settlement, Afghanistan will remain vulnerable to terrorism”, he said.
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan expressed shock and revulsion at the terrorist attacks causing significant civilian casualties. UN in Afghanistan called for those responsible to face justice and offers condolences to victims and families.
The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the country, Toby Lanzer, was “outraged” by the attacks. “It beggars belief that such a heinous act could be committed when Afghanistan is being ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic”, he said in a statement. “Civilians receiving care in hospitals, health workers, and medical infrastructure and aid workers are protected under International Humanitarian Law; violations must be investigated and those behind the attacks brought to justice”.
The Amnesty International also condemned the attack. “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. There must be accountability for these grave crimes, and civilians must be protected”, it said.
Human Rights Watch’s associate Asia director Patricia Gossman said in a tweet that a deliberate attack on a hospital is a war crime. “Those paying the price for this heinous act are patients, doctors, nurses, other medical staff, as well as Afghan civilians, including children, put in harm’s way”, she tweeted.