Wednesday | January 27,2021

Afghan maternity ward attackers 'came to kill the mothers'

Tarun Singh

The cold-blooded murders of 24 women, children and babies at a hospital in the Afghan capital were horrific enough.

But as Frederic Bonnot made his way through the bullet-riddled maternity unit, he realised something more.

Warning: Readers may find details in this story upsetting

The attackers had walked straight past a number of other wards, all closer to the entrance of Kabul's Dasht-e-Barchi hospital, and made straight for the maternity unit.

To him, it meant one thing: this was no mistake.

"What I saw in the maternity demonstrates it was a systematic shooting of the mothers," Bonnot, Head of Programmes for Médicins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Afghanistan, said. "They went through the rooms in the maternity, shooting women in their beds. It was methodical.

"They came to kill the mothers."

'Beyond words'

Amina was just two hours old when the attack started.

The little girl was the third child for Bibi Nazia and her husband, Rafiullah. Back at home, they already had a girl and a boy.

Nazia had gone to the hospital with her mother, and Amina was born at 08:00.

It should have been a day of celebration for Rafiullah. But at 10:00, the attack began. Explosions were heard by people outside the hospital complex. Those with family and friends inside rushed to the scene - including Rafiullah.

"He ran from side to side. But he couldn't do anything: no one allowed him to go inside," his cousin Hamidullah Hamidi told BBC Pashto.


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