KABUL/JALALABAD: Gunmen attacked a hospital in the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Tuesday where the international humanitarian organisation Doctors Without Borders runs a maternity clinic, killing 13 people, including two newborn babies, officials said.
In a separate attack the same day, a suicide bomber struck the funeral of a police commander, attended by government officials and a member of parliament, in the eastern province of Nangahar, killing at least 24 people and injuring 68.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for either attack. The Talian denied involvement in both.
The Islamic State militant group operates in Nangahar and has carried out a number of high-profile attacks in Kabul in recent months. On Monday security forces arrested its regional leader in the capital.
A spokesman for the Nangahar provincial government said the casualty toll could rise in the attack on the funeral.
In Kabul, the attack began in the morning when at least three gunmen wearing police uniforms entered the Dasht-e-Barchi hospital, throwing grenades and shooting, government officials said. Fifteen people were wounded in the attack, according to the Ministry of Interior. Security forces had killed the attackers by the afternoon.
The 100-bed government-run hospital hosted a maternity clinic run by Doctors Without Borders, also known by its French name Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).
MSF confirmed in a tweet that the hospital had been attacked and staff and patients were being evacuated. Just hours before it had tweeted a photo of a newborn infant at the clinic in his mother’s arms after being delivered safely by emergency caesarean section.
Interior and health ministry officials said that mothers, nurses and children were among the dead and wounded.
Photos from the Ministry of Interior showed two young children lying dead inside the hospital. Soldiers ferried infants out of the compound, some wrapped in blood-stained blankets. Officials said 100 people in total were rescued, including three foreign nationals.
Rights group Amnesty International condemned both attacks.
“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.”