Explosion at Kabul Hospital Kills 25

Sana Khan, Staff Writer

On November 2, 2021, Islamic State militants set off an explosion at the entrance to a military hospital in the Afghan capital of Kabul. Following the bombing, a group of armed men attacked the hospital.

This was one of the most brazen ISIS attacks since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan this past summer. At least 25 people were killed and more than 50 were wounded when gunmen attacked the hospital, which is Afghanistan’s biggest military hospital.

According to Taliban spokesman Zabifra Mujahid, the blast struck the entrance to the Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan Hospital and was followed by a group of armed men from the Islamic State. All attackers were reportedly eliminated within 15 minutes. “No one was killed inside the hospital,” said the spokesman. He said Taliban guards thwarted ISIS plans to target medical staff and patients in the 400-bed facility.

A Taliban spokesperson said five fighters from the ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan, ISIS-Khorasan or ISIS-K, carried out the attack. 

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the operation was typical of a complex attack by the Islamic State. This attack follows a series of bombings by the group, which has emerged as the greatest threat to Taliban domination in Afghanistan, undermining their claim that they have restored Afghanistan after decades of war.

The group’s attacks have raised concerns that Afghanistan could become a refuge for militant groups, as it was in 2001 when al-Qaeda attacked the United States. 

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), along with countries such as Pakistan, have condemned the attack. “Attacks targeting medical personnel and civilians seeking treatment are violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. Those responsible need to be held to account,” UNAMA tweeted.

Concerns are worsening as the serious economic crisis in Afghanistan has threatened millions of people with poverty as winter approaches, and left thousands of former combatants unemployed.

The sudden withdrawal of international assistance which resulted from the Taliban’s victory has put Afghanistan’s fragile economy on the brink of collapse, just as a severe drought has threatened millions with hunger.