The terrorist attack on a Kabul hospital that killed 24 is likely to delay the intra-Afghan peace talks

The journey from the cradle to the grave lasted only a few hours for some Afghan babies at the 100-bed Maternity Hospital in the Dasht-e-Barchi area of Kabul.

In one of the most brutal attacks in the recent past, the hospital, which is operated by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in a predominantly Hazara-Shia neighbourhood, was attacked by the Islamic State terrorists on Tuesday, killing 24, including newborns, mothers and medical staff. The group has previously also targeted areas populated by minority groups. In March, a gurdwara in Kabul came under attack, in which 25 people were killed.

“While pregnant women and babies, in one of life’s most vulnerable states, were seeking healthcare, an unknown number of attackers stormed the maternity ward through a series of explosions and gunfire, lasting for hours,” the MSF said in a statement issued after the attack.

“The first few hours after the attack started, were very very difficult,” said Dr Bina Najeeb, head of department and paediatric cardiac surgeon at the French Medical Institute for Children (FMIC), one the few hospitals specialising in childcare in Kabul. “This is not the first time a hospital has been attacked in Kabul. This is one of the worst conflict scenarios, but what was truly worse was that this was a maternity hospital with mothers and their children.”

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