Several killed in an attack on a military hospital in Kabul

Several people were killed and dozens wounded Tuesday in a suicide bomb attack followed by a gun battle at a military hospital in Kabul. Hours after the attack began, Taliban forces killed the assailants and regained control of the hospital.

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“Unfortunately, we have 25 dead in today’s attack on a military hospital,” a Taliban member who requested anonymity told Efe, putting the number of wounded at least 40. However, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said there were seven dead.

According to Interior Ministry spokesman Qari Sayed Khosty, an initial explosion occurred outside the entrance of the Sardar Mohammad Daoud Khan military hospital, located in the center of the Afghan capital and with a capacity of about 400 beds. Another explosion hit minutes later and then a firefight began.

A witness, who requested anonymity, told Efe from the hospital that “the attackers used firearms and hand grenades to fight the Taliban, but the attack has ended and we no longer hear gunfire or explosions.” Videos recorded from outside the hospital show people leaving the compound thanks to a ladder placed on one of the walls.

So far, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, although eyes are pointing to one of the Taliban’s greatest enemies, the Islamic State. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for attacks in at least eight of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces since the Taliban seized power on August 15. “Our initial information suggests that the attack was carried out by Islamic State fighters,” said the Taliban source.

The Sardar Mohammad Daoud Khan Hospital is the main military hospital facility in Kabul and is only a few meters from the US embassy and the Afghan Ministry of Health.

This center suffered in March 2017 an attack claimed by the jihadist group Islamic State that caused more than thirty deaths and dozens of wounded, after a suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance of the hospital. Then the suicide bomber made way for three other insurgents who broke into the compound and fired “indiscriminately” until the last of them was killed by Afghan troops six and a half hours after the start of the attack.

The biggest attack by the jihadist group in recent months, with some 170 dead, took place on 26 August at Kabul airport, when thousands of Afghans were desperately trying to flee the country on one of the repatriation flights.

In addition, another suicide attack by the Islamic State against a Shiite mosque left at least 80 dead and about a hundred wounded in Kunduz on 8 October. Another similar attack a week later in the southern city of Kandahar left another 60 dead.

Analysts and experts have pointed out that the jihadist group has become the biggest threat to the security of the Taliban government in Afghanistan, being behind almost daily attacks against the fundamentalists.

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