An explosion and gunfire rattled Kabul’s diplomatic district Wednesday as insurgents attacked Afghanistan’s largest military hospital, officials said.”The Sardar Daud Khan hospital has been attacked.
The attackers have entered the hospital. We don’t have any more details for now,” defence ministry spokesman Daulat Waziri told a foreign media agency.
A hospital staff member wrote on Facebook: “Attackers are inside the hospital. Pray for us.
“Gunmen, including at least one dressed as a doctor, attacked a military hospital in an area close to the US Embassy and were engaging security forces inside the building, witnesses said. A worker at the hospital, Abdul Qadir, told foreign media that a number of gunmen appeared to be inside the hospital.
The attack is said to have started with a suicide bomber who detonated at the rear of the hospital, which is across the road from the heavily fortified U.S. embassy.
He said he saw one gunman, dressed in a white doctor’s coat, take out a concealed AK-47 and open fire, killing at least one patient and one hospital worker, but he had also heard firing from several other points.Tolo News television quoted a doctor working in the hospital who said a blast was detonated at the hospital, after which gunmen had opened fire.
ISIS reportedly claimed responsibility for the assault, but it comes as Taliban insurgents’ ramp up attacks even before the start of their annual spring offensive.The latest attack comes a week after 16 people were killed in simultaneous Taliban suicide assaults on two security compounds in Kabul.
As secuirty forces cleared the hospital buildings they found at least thirty dead and fifty wounded, including doctors, patients and hospital staff.
The violence underscores rising insecurity in Afghanistan over the resurgent Taliban.The country is bracing for an intense new Taliban fighting season in the spring as the government’s repeated bids to launch peace negotiations have failed.
Defence Ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri said the attack was suppressed by mid-afternoon, with all three gunmen killed.
Afghan forces, already beset by record casualties, desertions and non-existent “ghost soldiers” on the payrolls, have been struggling to rein in the Taliban since US-led Nato troops ended their combat mission in December 2014.Kabul last month endorsed US general John Nicholson’s call for thousands of additional coalition troops in Afghanistan to fend off the militants before the spring offensive.
Extra troops were needed to end the stalemate in the war, Nicholson, the top US commander in Afghanistan, told the US Congress in what could be President Donald Trump’s first major test of military strategy.
Sources: Reuters, Pakistan Daily News