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Daesh behind recent deadly attacks, says Khalilzad

Daesh behind recent deadly attacks, says Khalilzad

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May 15, 2020 - 12:22

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): US special envoy for peace in Afghanistaninfo-icon Zalmay Khalilzad has said they “assessed” that Islamic State was behind deadly attacks on a maternity clinic and a funeral earlier this week in the war-torn country.

 “ISIS has demonstrated a pattern for favoring these types of heinous attacks against civilians and is a threat to the Afghan people and to the worldinfo-icon,” tweeted Khalilzad on Friday.

Several gunmen in suicide vests stormed the maternity ward in Kabul, killing 24 people, on Tuesday, an hour before a suicide bombing killed 32 and injured about 100 others in a funeral in eastern Nangarhar province.

While Islamic State claimed credit for the funeral bombing, no armed group took responsibility for the gruesome hospital raid.

The maternity ward, run by France-based Doctors Without Borders, is located in western Kabul, home mostly to members of the minority Hazara Shi’ite community.

The Talibaninfo-icon insurgency denied involvement in the both the attacks. However, President Ashraf Ghani and his aides accused the Taliban of maintaining ties with terrorists responsible for the violence.

Khalilzad noted in his tweets that Islamic State has sought to encourage a sectarian war in Afghanistan, as it did in Iraq and Syria. He said the terrorist group was also opposed to a peace agreement between the Afghan government and the Taliban, he added.

 “Rather than falling into the ISIS trap and delay peace or create obstacles, Afghans must come together to crush this menace and pursue a historic peace opportunity. No more excuses. Afghans, and the world, deserve better,” the US envoy said.

Meanwhile, Doctors Without Borders, known by its French acronym MSF, Thursday released details of its own investigation into the attack on the maternity ward in Kabul. It said that the assailants killed 11 womeninfo-icon, three of them in the delivery room with their unborn babies, and that five others were injured.

 “I went back the day after the attack and what I saw in the maternity (ward) demonstrates it was a systematic shooting of the mothers,” said Frederic Bonnot, MSF’s head of programs in Afghanistan.

The MSF probe found the gunmen stormed the hospital through the main gate and moved straight to the maternity ward.

The attack lasted for four hours, while patients and staff alike searched desperately for cover, according to the MSF statement.

Khalilzad negotiated and signed Washington’s landmark peace-building agreement with the Taliban in February to end the nearly 19-year Afghan war and bring home American troops.

Tuesday’s violence prompted Ghani to order Afghan security forces to resume “offensive” operations against “Taliban and other terrorist groups.” The move fueled fears of an escalation in the Afghan war, posing a fresh challenge to the US-Taliban pact.

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