Six dead in suicide blast at Kabul military hospital

Last Updated: Saturday, May 21, 2011 - 17:47

Kabul: Six medical students were killed
and 23 others wounded in a Taliban suicide attack at
Afghanistan`s main military hospital in Kabul on Saturday, the
defence ministry said.

The blast took place in a tent used as a dining room
by students at the city centre hospital, one of the biggest
and best-equipped in Afghanistan.

The hospital is not used by NATO forces, though it is
thought that foreign medics are frequently stationed there to
train their Afghan counterparts.

"There was a suicide attack at a tent used as a dining
facility by medical students inside the hospital," said
defence ministry spokesman General Mohammad Zahir Azimi.

"The blast killed six people and wounded 23 others and
all of them are medical students."

Responsibility for the blast was claimed by the
Taliban, whose spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said two attackers
had entered the heavily-secured hospital.

A doctor inside the hospital, speaking to a news agency on
condition of anonymity by telephone, said people in the
building he was in within the compound had been shut into one
room as searches went on for other attackers but had now been

Mohammad Zaher, head of Kabul police`s criminal
investigation department, said that searches were still going
on at the hospital for another possible attacker.

However, Azimi denied reports that there was a second
suicide attacker on the loose in the hospital.

Eyewitness Mohammad Hakim, who has a cart selling
fruit nearby, described what had happened.

"It was a big explosion, I fell to the ground," he
said. "The police arrived late at the scene, half an hour
after the explosion took place."

The roads to the hospital were blocked and Afghan
security forces including the spy agency`s quick reaction
forces cordoned off the facility, while police and soldiers
were also on the scene.

Relatives of patients inside the hospital gathered
nearby after trying but failing to find out if their family
members are safe, a news agency reporter at the scene said.

Afghanistan`s military are frequently targeted by the
Taliban and other militants. There has been a recent spike in
suicide bombings -- a key Taliban tactic -- and other attacks
in Afghanistan.

Two rockets were fired overnight into Kabul city
landing in an empty plot, causing no damage or casualties,
interior ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary said.


First Published: Saturday, May 21, 2011 - 17:47

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