The UN Security Council has strongly condemned the cowardly terrorist attacks in Kabul and Nangarhar in Afghanistan that killed over 40 people, terming the deliberate targeting of infants, mothers and health workers at a maternity hospital as abhorrent.
Militants attacked the maternity hospital in Kabul on Tuesday, killing at least 20 civilians, including two newborn babies, their mothers, besides some nurses. In a separate attack the same day, a suicide bomber targeted a funeral ceremony in Nangahar province – a hotbed of the Islamic State terrorist group, killing at least 24 people and injuring 68.
“The members of the Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security. Deliberately targeting infants, children, mothers and health workers as such is especially abhorrent and must be condemned,” the UN Security Council (UNSC) said in a statement on Wednesday.
It underlined the need to hold perpetrators, financiers and sponsors of these “reprehensible” acts of terrorism accountable and bring them to justice, and urged all States to cooperate actively with the government of Afghanistan and all other relevant authorities.
The UNSC “condemned in the strongest terms the heinous and cowardly terrorist attacks” that took place at the MSF Clinic in Kabul, Afghanistan and at a funeral in Nangarhar province, the statement said.
“The attacks happened during the month of Ramzan. For the latter attack, ISIL-K has claimed responsibility,” it said.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has also strongly condemned the horrific attacks, saying that those who carry out such “unacceptable” crimes must be held accountable.
“The Secretary-General strongly condemns the horrific attack (Tuesday) on a hospital in Kabul, which killed and wounded dozens of people, including women and children,” a statement issued by the UN chief’s spokesperson had said.
Guterres is also following with concern the escalation of violence in the country as attacks claimed scores of lives in Balkh, Khost, and Nangarhar provinces, it said.
The members of the Security Council underlined the Secretary General’s call for a global ceasefire in the light of the current COVID-19 pandemic.
The Secretary-General had also expressed his deepest sympathies to the families of the victims and to the government and people of Afghanistan.
“He reiterates that attacks against civilians are unacceptable and that hospitals, medical facilities and personnel have special protection under international humanitarian law. Those who carry out such crimes must be held accountable,” the statement from his spokesperson had said.
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) took to Twitter to express “shock and revulsion” over the attacks.
The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the country Toby Lanzer he was “outraged” by the attack on the Sad Bistar Hospital, a 100-bed facility, which was full of patients and medical staff when the assault took place.
“It beggars belief that such a heinous act could be committed when Afghanistan is being ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said in the statement.
“Civilians receiving care in hospitals, health workers, medical infrastructure and aid workers are protected under International Humanitarian Law; violations must be investigated and those behind the attacks brought to justice,” it said.
At the daily press briefing on Tuesday, Spokesman for the Secretary-General Stephane Dujarric was asked if the UN had any idea who the perpetrators of the attack were.
“I have no more information than you do except to note that it was really a horrendous attack Every loss of life is tragic; every attack is tragic, but to attack a maternity ward is… it’s truly beyond the pale,” Dujarric had said.