The United States condemns in the strongest terms the two horrific terrorist attacks in Afghanistan today. In an unconscionable assault, gunmen seized one of Kabul’s busiest hospitals, which housed a maternity ward run by Doctors Without Borders. In the hospital, the terrorists took the lives of at least 13 innocent people, including newborn babies, new mothers, and health care workers. Any attack on innocents is unforgivable, but to attack infants and women in labor in the sanctuary of a hospital is an act of sheer evil.
Separately, in the eastern province of Nangarhar, a suicide bomber attacked the funeral of a local police commander, leaving at least 26 people dead and more than 68 wounded. Terrorists who attack mourners lining up for prayer at a funeral are only seeking to tear apart the bonds that hold families and communities together, but they will never succeed. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families of both attacks, as well as the brave Afghan security forces who defended against the terrorists.
During the holy month of Ramadan and amidst the threat of COVID-19, these dual attacks are particularly appalling. We note the Taliban have denied any responsibility and condemned both attacks as heinous. The Taliban and the Afghan government should cooperate to bring the perpetrators to justice. As long as there is no sustained reduction in violence and insufficient progress towards a negotiated political settlement, Afghanistan will remain vulnerable to terrorism. The Afghan people deserve a future free from terror, and the ongoing peace process continues to present a critical opportunity for Afghans to come together to build a united front against the menace of terrorism.