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Explosions and gunfire hit Afghan military hospital with ‘ISIS fighters clashing with Taliban’

At least 19 people have been killed and dozens injured in an apparent ISIS attack after explosions and gunfire at Afghanistan’s largest military hospital.

Militants entered the 400-bed Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan hospital, where they opened fire from room to room and clashed with Taliban security forces, witnesses said.

“Nineteen dead bodies and about 50 injured have been taken to hospitals in Kabul,” a health ministry official who declined to be named told AFP.

ISIS fighters broke into 400-bed Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan hospital and opened fire after clashes with Taliban security forces, witnesses said.

Man holding young girl flees after bombs target military hospital in Kabul

Man holding young girl flees after bombs target military hospital in Kabul

Emergency hospital staff prepare to receive dozens of victims after the explosions and gunshots

Emergency hospital staff prepare to receive dozens of victims after the explosions and gunshots

Italian aid agency Emergency, which runs a trauma hospital, said nine injured have been brought in so far.

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

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

But the official Bakhtar news agency quoted witnesses as saying a number of Islamic State fighters entered the hospital.

‘I’m in the hospital. I heard a big explosion from the first checkpoint. We were told to go to safe rooms. I also hear guns firing,” a doctor from Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan Hospital in Kabul told AFP.

“I can still hear gunshots in the hospital building. I think the attackers move from room to room… like the first time it was attacked,” the doctor added.

ISIS fighters broke into 400-bed Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan hospital and opened fire after clashes with Taliban security forces, witnesses said.

ISIS fighters broke into 400-bed Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan hospital and opened fire after clashes with Taliban security forces, witnesses said.

Italian aid agency Emergency, which runs a trauma hospital, said nine injured have been brought in so far

Italian aid agency Emergency, which runs a trauma hospital, said nine injured have been brought in so far

The explosions add to a growing list of attacks and killings since the Taliban completed their victory over the previous western-backed government in August.

The explosions add to a growing list of attacks and killings since the Taliban completed their victory over the previous western-backed government in August.

The explosions add to a growing list of attacks and killings since the Taliban completed their victory over the previous western-backed government in August.

The hospital, which treats wounded soldiers from both the Taliban and former Afghan security forces, was attacked earlier in 2017, when gunmen disguised as medical personnel killed at least 30 people during an hours-long siege.

A Taliban media spokesman confirmed on Tuesday that two explosions hit the hospital area.

“One explosion has taken place at the gate of the military hospital and a second somewhere near the hospital, this is our first information, we will give more details later,” he told AFP.

Qari Saeed Khosty, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said Taliban special forces had come to secure the area after “a bomb” exploded.

AFP journalists heard a second explosion, followed by gunfire.

Footage from the hospital showed a body on the ground as armed fighters patrolled the grounds

Footage from the hospital showed a body on the ground as armed fighters patrolled the grounds

Photos shared by residents showed a plume of smoke over the area of ​​the blast near the former diplomatic zone

Photos shared by residents showed a plume of smoke over the area of ​​the blast near the former diplomatic zone

While both ISIS and the Taliban are tough Sunni Islamist militants, they disagree on the details of religion and strategy.

ISIS has claimed four mass attacks since the Taliban takeover on August 15, including suicide attacks on Shia Muslim mosques. It considers Shia Muslims to be heretics.

In the attack on the military hospital in 2017, militants went room-to-room killing people and switched to knives when they ran out of ammunition.

That attack was claimed by the Islamic State group, and the Taliban denied responsibility.

However, survivors told AFP that the attackers chanted “Long live the Taliban” in Pashto and attacked all but two wards on the first floor of the hospital where Taliban patients were being admitted.

A helicopter circles ahead over the skies of Kabul after the Afghan capital was hit by two bombings

A helicopter circles ahead over the skies of Kabul after the Afghan capital was hit by two bombings

Roads near the heavily fortified “Green Zone” where the buildings of several former Western embassies are located were closed to traffic and Taliban guards stepped up the search.

Sirens could be heard in the streets and ambulances were seen traveling at high speed to the site of the explosion and two helicopters circled over the city all afternoon.

A health worker at the hospital, who managed to escape, said he heard a large explosion followed by gunfire for several minutes. About ten minutes later, there was a second, larger explosion, he said.

He said it was unclear whether the blast and gunfire were in the sprawling hospital complex.

The explosions add to a growing list of attacks and assassinations since the Taliban completed their victory over the previous western-backed government in August, undermining their claim that they have restored security to Afghanistan after decades of war.

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