Kabul Hospital Attack A War Crime: HRW, AIHRC

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (HRC) have condemned the terrorist attack in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The attack by unidentified assailants on a hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan on May 12, 2020 shows blatant disregard for civilian life and is an apparent war crime, Human Rights Watch said.

“An attack on a maternity clinic is simply unspeakable,” said Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director at Human Right Watch. “This attack is the latest incident of an armed group in Afghanistan targeting patients, healthcare workers, and medical facilities.”

In the meantime, Shaharzad Akbar, head of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, said newborns were essentially “targeted in a war they and their mothers had no part in”.

Gunmen stormed the Dasht-e-Barchi hospital in Afghanistan’s capital on 12 May. Witnesses told reporters the assailants shot people at random, including mothers, nurses, and children. The aid group Médecins Sans Frontières runs a 30-bed maternity unit at the hospital.

The suicide bombing attack and ensuing gun battles killed at least 24 civilians, including 2 infants, and wounded at least 15. More than 80 patients, including children, were evacuated from the hospital.

Taliban militants have denied involvement in the hospital attack.

The UN says attacks on healthcare centres and health workers have sharply risen in recent years, including 75 “incidents” last year. Conflict often forces the closure of health clinics, cutting off access to under-served rural areas.

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