Two explosions strike large Kabul military hospital

KABUL, Afghanistan – At least two explosions followed by gunfire struck Afghanistan’s largest military hospital in Kabul, witnesses and Taliban officials said Tuesday.

Interior Ministry spokesman Qari Saeed Khosty said the explosions occurred at the entrance to the 400-bed Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan hospital.

“Security forces are stationed in the area and there is no information about the victims,” ​​he said on Twitter.

The Italian aid organization Emergency, which runs an accident hospital about three kilometers from the site of the explosion, said that nine wounded have been admitted so far.

Photos shared by local residents showed a cloud of smoke over the area of ​​the explosions near the former diplomatic zone in the Wazir Akbar Khan area of ​​central Kabul.

There was no direct claim to responsibility. But the official Bakhtar News Agency cited witnesses who said a number of Islamic State militants entered the hospital and clashed with security forces.

Smoke rises in Kabul after a major explosion outside a military hospital on Tuesday.Bilal Guler / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The explosions add to a growing list of attacks and killings since the Taliban defeated the previous West-backed government in August and undermine their claim to have restored Afghanistan after decades of war.

The Islamic State, which has carried out a series of attacks on mosques and other targets since the Taliban captured Kabul in August, carried out a complex attack on the 400-bed hospital in 2017, killing more than 30 people.

A hospital health worker who managed to escape said he heard a large explosion followed by gunshots that lasted several minutes. There was a second, larger explosion about ten minutes later, he said.

He said it was unclear whether the explosions and gunfire occurred inside the sprawling hospital complex, the largest military hospital in Afghanistan.

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