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Special forces rescued around 100 people from Dasht-e-Barchi Hospital, a clinic ran by the charity Doctors Without Borders. Heavily armed forces were seen carrying babies away – at least one wrapped in a blood-soaked blanket. Three militant gunmen dressed in police uniforms launched grenades and shot at women and children after storming the facility yesterday morning.

Mothers, babies and nurses were among those killed, according to officials. Another 15 people, including a number of children, were injured.

Doctors leapt to an adjacent building while some were trapped inside the hospital as the terrorists exchanged gunfire with Afghan special forces, which were backed by British and American troops, according to reports.

The militants held siege before security forces killed them in a battle which lasted several hours, the interior ministry said.

Interior ministry spokesman Tareq Arian said: “The fatalities also include mothers and nurses”.

Médecins Sans Frontières confirmed that the hospital had been attacked and staff and patients were being evacuated.

Just hours before it had tweeted a photo of a newborn infant at the clinic in his mother’s arms after being delivered safely by emergency caesarean section.

The Dasht-e-Barchi Hospital is located in the west of Kabul, home to the capital’s minority Shiite Hazara community — a frequent target of Sunni militants from the Islamic State group.

Deputy health minister Waheed Majroh said: “Hospitals and health workers must not be attacked. We call on all sides to stop attacking hospitals and health workers.”

Rights group Amnesty International said: “The unconscionable war crimes in Afghanistan today, targeting a maternity hospital and a funeral, must awaken the world to the horrors civilians continue to face.

“There must be accountability for these grave crimes.”

Around an hour later, a suicide bomber killed at least 24 people at the funeral of a local police commander in the country’s eastern Nangarhar province.

The attacker detonated his explosives in the middle of the ceremony.

The violence comes just a day after four roadside bombs exploded in a northern district of Kabul, wounding four civilians including a child.

The bombings were later claimed by the Islamic State group.

They were just the latest in a string of IS attacks on the capital.

In March, at least 25 people were killed by a gunman at a Sikh temple in Kabul, which was later claimed by the group.

IS is also responsible for an infamous attack in March 2017 on one of the country’s largest hospitals, when gunmen disguised as doctors stormed the Kabul building and killed dozens.

The jihadist group has suffered mounting setbacks after being hunted by US and Afghan forces as well as Taliban offensives targeting their fighters.

As part of the peace agreement between the US and the Taliban, the group must not harbour or help terrorists.

The deal will see all US and foreign forces leave Afghanistan over the next year. Thousands of US troops have already gone, with a drawdown to 8,600 expected within months.

The Taliban have denied involvement in both of Tuesday’s attacks.



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