KABUL: At least 20 people were killed and 50 others injured in an attack on a military hospital in Kabul on Tuesday, the latest assault to rock Afghanistan since the Taliban seized power.
Two blasts struck close to the entrance of the sprawling site followed by reports of shooting inside the hospital, the Taliban and a witness said.
“Nineteen dead bodies and about 50 wounded people have been taken to hospitals in Kabul,” a health ministry official who asked not to be named.
The explosions took place at the entrance of the 400-bed Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan hospital in central Kabul and security forces had been sent to the area, Interior ministry spokesman Qari Saeed Khosty said.
There was no confirmation of casualty numbers but a Taliban security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there were at least 15 dead and 34 wounded.
Italian aid group Emergency, which runs a trauma hospital some 3 km from the site of the blast, said nine wounded had been brought in so far.
Photographs shared by residents showed a plume of smoke over the area of the blasts near the former diplomatic zone in the Wazir Akbar Khan area of the city and witnesses said at least two helicopters were flying over the area.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility. But the official Bakhtar news agency quoted witnesses saying a number of Islamic State fighters entered the hospital and clashed with security forces.
The blasts add to a growing list of attacks and killings since the Taliban completed their victory over the previous Western-backed government in August, undermining their claim to have restored security to Afghanistan after decades of war.
A health worker at the hospital, who managed to escape, said he heard a large explosion followed by a couple of minutes of gunfire. About ten minutes later, there was a second, larger explosion, he said.
He said it was unclear whether the blasts and the gunfire were inside the sprawling hospital complex.
Islamic State, which has carried out a series of attacks on mosques and other targets since the Taliban’s seizure of Kabul in August, mounted a complex attack on the hospital in 2017, killing more than 30 people.
The group’s attacks have caused mounting worries outside Afghanistan about the potential for the country to become a haven for militant groups as it was when an al Qaeda group attacked the United States in 2001.
Blast in Kharan, Balochistan
At least 13 people were injured, including four critically, in a blast in Balochistan’s Kharan district on Tuesday, Station House Officer (SHO) Mohammad Qasim said.
The four critically injured patients were shifted to Quetta while nine others were taken to the District Headquarters Hospital, he said.
Qasim said the explosion occurred shortly after a vehicle of security forces passed through the area. The bomb was fitted in a motorbike, he added.
Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo condemned the attack and expressed grief for those injured.
In a statement, he said that anti-state elements wanted to disturb the province’s peace.
“Our courage will not be dampened by the cowardly activities of terrorists. The people of the province are standing with security forces to end the chaos caused by terrorism,” he added.
He instructed that the best treatment be provided to the injured.
The blast comes a day after an explosion in the province’s Awaran district that killed a prominent political leader and tribal elder and injured two other people.
“Akram Sajidi received multiple injuries and died on the spot,” District Police Officer Tariq Mastoi told Dawn. He said an improvised explosive device was attached to the bottom of the vehicle.
On Oct 31, two passers-by were killed and three security personnel injured in a bomb blast in Balochistan’s Panjgur town. Police said unidentified people parked an explosive-laden motorbike in the Cheetkan Bazaar area which was detonated by remote control when a Frontier Corps vehicle reached there. Two people were killed and three FC soldiers travelling in the vehicle suffered injuries.