Maj. Gen. Dawlat Waziri, a MoD spokesman, told Pajhwok Afghan News first a suicide bomber detonated his payload at the southern gate of the 400-bed military hospital at around 9am, allowing three other attackers to enter the hospital’s 2nd and 3rd floor.
The attack on Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan Military Hospital, located in heavily-guarded Wazir Akbar Khan diplomatic quarter, set off clashes with security forces that lasted several hours.
Waziri said the three assailants opened fire indiscriminately as soon as they entered the hospital after the suicide bombing. He said the security forces battled the gunmen floor by floor
Afghan National Army (ANA) commandoes were quick to reach the incident area and special unit personnel were dropped off through air.
Waziri said the attack came to an end with the killing of the three attackers at about 3:30pm.
“The clash lasted long because we were trying avoid casualties to patients and hospital staff.” He said the wounded people were treated on emergency basis.
Meanwhile, a statement from the Presidential Palace quoted President Ashraf Ghani as saying that international humanitarian laws prohibited attacks on hospitals.
“But today’s terrorist attack on the Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan Hospital clearly shows that the terrorists recognize no rules or principles.”
Ghani condemned the attack as inhuman. He said the attack reinforced the belief that terrorists except killing innocent people and creating terror had no other aim.
“Terrorists by carrying out such barbaric acts cannot impose their nefarious intentions on our people.”
While praying for the departed souls, Ghani wished a swift recovery to the injured. “There is no ambiguity in our fight against terrorism and the security and defence forces are combating groups who commit crimes and kill people with full strength.”
Meanwhile, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan condemned the complex attack on the Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan Hospital.
The UNAMA in a statement said the attackers disguised as medical medical doctors were armed with AK-47s, grenades and suicide vests as entered the facility. The armed attackers proceeded to target patients and medical workers before Afghan security forces ended the assault.
Islamic State operatives claimed responsibility for the attack. “This egregious and morally reprehensible attack targeted people at their most vulnerable,” said Pernille Kardel, the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan and acting head of UNAMA.
“This cowardly attack reflects a fundamental rejection of the most basic principles of humanity,” she said. “Without question, it amounts to an atrocity, and the perpetrators must be held accountable.”
UNAMA urged all parties to the conflict to respect and protect all medical workers, clinics and hospitals in compliance with international humanitarian law.
“This atrocity shows how Afghan people’s desire and hope for a peaceful future is interrupted by unspeakable violence over and over again,” said Ms Kardel.
“The UN family in Afghanistan stands in support of all Afghans, who continue to demonstrate resilience and determination in their efforts to bring about a peaceful future for the country.”
[Originally published by Pajhwok. Image Credits: Al Alam News Agency]