US Secretary of State Urges Afghan Gov’t, Taliban to Bring Hospital, Funeral Attackers to Justice

The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called on the Afghan government and the Taliban group to cooperate to bring to justice the perpetrators of attacks on a hospital and a funeral that killed dozens of civilians.

“The United States condemns in the strongest terms the two horrific attacks in Afghanistan,” Pompeo said in a statement.

Gunmen dressed in police uniforms on Tuesday stormed a Kabul hospital, which houses a maternity ward, operated by the international humanitarian organization Doctors without Borders.

Separately, a suicide bomber struck the funeral of a police commander in eastern Nangarhar province.

“We note the Taliban have denied any responsibility and condemned both attacks as heinous,” Pompeo said. “The Taliban and the Afghan government should cooperate to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

His plea, however, faced major hurdles.

Pompeo put the death toll at 13, including two newborn babies, mothers and health care workers, in the hospital attack. He said the funeral bombing left at least 26 people dead and more than 69 others wounded.

Pompeo called the hospital attack “an act of sheer evil.” Those who carried out the funeral bombing “are only seeking to tear apart the bonds that hold families and communities together, but they will never succeed,” he said.

Without a sustained reduction in violence and “insufficient progress” towards a negotiated peace agreement, the country “will remain vulnerable to terrorism,” he said.

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