After a thorough internal investigation into the bloody attack on 12 May targeting the maternity hospital she managed in Kabul, the NGO Médecins sans frontières (MSF) announced on Monday 15 June the closure of the establishment located at in the Dasht-e-Barchi hospital, southwest of the Afghan capital. MSF considers that the armed commando deliberately targeted the mothers, of Hazara origin, a minority Shiite ethnic group, who mainly attended the health center, and its employees.
The assault has not yet been claimed, even if the United States claims that the Islamic State organization (IS) is behind this carnage, the French NGO considers that it can no longer guarantee security of its missions, patients and staff. Reflection continues on the follow-up to be given to the other activities of the NGO in Afghanistan.
In the hierarchy of horrors in this war-torn country, the emergence of these armed men had been beyond comprehension. In the middle of the morning, three to six people, according to sources, broke into the maternity unit after crossing the general hospital without a glance. The men fired on the women lying on the beds, then progressed from room to room. They then kill women and newborn babies and are put out of action by special forces after several hours of fighting. Sixteen mothers, including five in childbirth, fell under the bullets. A midwife working for MSF and eight carers, including two children aged 7 and 8, were also shot at point-blank range.
“Staying would mean that we must consider the loss of human life as a parameter of our activity, which is inconceivable”, Thierry Allafort-Duverger, director general of MSF
From the first shots, the medical staff tried to evacuate as many patients and families as possible in one of the four closest “safe rooms”. 70 to 80 people took refuge there and experienced the attack at the mere sound of bullet holes and vehicle explosions in the hospital courtyard. As after each crisis and lack of being able to rely on an independent and proper investigation, MSF launched its own investigation with a hundred people, survivors, wounded and personal, before taking its decision.
A direct impact on the area
“No information has emerged on the perpetrators and the motive for the killing, similar attacks may recur, estimated, Monday, Thierry Allafort-Duverger, director general of MSF. NOTWe were aware that our presence in Dasht-e-Barchi entailed risks, but we could not believe that someone would take advantage of the absolute vulnerability of the women about to give birth to exterminate them and their babies. To stay would mean that we must consider the loss of human life as a parameter of our activity, which is inconceivable. “
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