On May 12, three gunmen, one dressed in military uniform and two others in doctor's attire, entered a maternity hospital run by the international humanitarian medical organization, Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF). What ensued was a four-hour-long massacre at the Dasht-e-Barchi hospital, located in Shi'ite majority region of western Kabul.
As many as 24 people, including two new-borns and 11 mothers, three of whom were in the delivery room with their unborn babies, were killed in the horrific slaughter. In a statement on Thursday, Frederic Bonnot, the MSF head in Afghanistan, said: "They [attackers] came to kill the mothers."
In a statement, Bonnot who visited the hospital the next day of the attack, said what he saw "demonstrates it was a systematic shooting of the mothers". According to Bonnot, the attackers went through rooms, shooting women in their beds. "It was methodical. Walls sprayed with bullets, blood on the floors in the rooms, vehicles burnt out and windows shot through."
Sounds of both gunfire and explosions could be heard, according to Bonnot. "We know this area has suffered attacks in the past, but no one could believe they would attack a maternity. They came to kill the mothers," he said.
Although no terrorist group claimed responsibility, the US Special Representative to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, claimed that ISIS was behind the dastardly attack. According to him, the Islamic State in Khorasan (ISIS-K), the Afghan branch of IS "opposes a peace agreement between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban, and seeks to encourage sectarian war as in Iraq and Syria".
Although ISIS-K did not claim responsibility for the Kabul attack, it admitted being behind another attack, on the same day in the eastern Nangarhar province. A suicide bomber blew himself up in the middle of a funeral, killing 32 mourners. The Islamic State has a history of attacking the country's religious and ethnic minorities.
In August last year, a suicide bomber blew himself up in the middle of a wedding in Kabul's Shi'ite neighborhood, killing at least 63 people, Al Jazeera reported. In March, this year, the terrorist group attacked a Sikh temple in Kabul, killing 25 worshippers, Reuters reported.