Kabul hospital attack: 19 Dead, Dozens Injured

KABUL: Six attackers set off an explosion at the entrance of a military hospital in the Afghan capital on Tuesday and tried to enter the facility, but were eventually pushed back by Taliban guards, an official with the Taliban-run Defense Ministry said.

At least 19 people were killed and 50 others wounded in an attack on a military hospital in Kabul on Tuesday, the latest assault to rock Afghanistan since the Taliban seized power.

“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 told AFP.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, one of the most brazen yet in the capital since the Taliban took over Afghanistan in a swift military campaign in August.

“All the attackers are dead. The attack was initiated by a suicide bomber on a motorcycle who blew himself up at the entrance of the hospital,” a Taliban official from the media team said.

“Some attackers entered the hospital compound.”

Previous attacks were claimed by Islamic State militants, an enemy of the Taliban.

Hibatullah Jamal, the Taliban official from the Defense Ministry, said two of the six attackers were captured.

He did not say how many people were killed or wounded. “There are casualties among both our personnel and civilians but immediately the toll is not clear,” he said.

He said Taliban fighters were among those killed, but that most of the casualties were civilians. The Taliban have regained control of the hospital, he added.

City residents had reported two explosions in the area, along with the sound of gunfire.

Sayed Abdullah Ahmadi, the director of the nearby Wazir Akbar Khan hospital, said his facility had received three bodies and seven people who were wounded in the blast.

Another nine injured were taken to the Afghanistan Emergency Hospital.

In recent weeks, the Islamic State group has carried out a series of bombing and shooting attacks. IS has stepped up attacks since the Taliban takeover of the country.

Italian NGO which runs a separate hospital in the capital tweeted on Tuesday that it has received nine patients with injuries from the blast site.
Pictures shared on social media showed black smoke billowing into the air after the explosions, the first of which went off at around 1:00 pm (0830 GMT).

AFP journalists saw Taliban fighters racing to the scene in at two armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and pick-up trucks.

Roads close to the heavily fortified “Green Zone” where the buildings of several former Western embassies were located were closed off to traffic and Taliban guards scaled up searches.

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