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 Afghanistan: Attack on Logar hospital kills 60

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Join date : 2011-06-05

PostSubject: Afghanistan: Attack on Logar hospital kills 60   Sat Jun 25, 2011 7:20 am

Afghanistan: Attack on Logar hospital kills 60

At least 60 people have been killed and more than 100 injured in a car bomb attack at a hospital in Afghanistan's Logar province, local officials say.

The hospital building was destroyed and people buried under rubble. Casualties included women, children and elderly.

The Afghan health ministry said the attack was unprecedented and inhumane.

Officials blamed the Taliban, but a Taliban spokesman said the movement did not target civilians and the blast was caused by "someone with an agenda".

However, the BBC's Bilal Sarwary in Kabul says the Taliban is always careful to distance itself from major attacks with large numbers of civilian casualties.

An intelligence official later said the vehicle had been detonated close to the hospital after police had tried to stop it, and that it was not clear what the actual target was.

Provincial official Din Mohammad Darwaish said the death toll could well increase as there were still people buried.

Soldiers have been dispatched to the scene to try to pull out those that are trapped.

The attack follows a UN report earlier this month indicating a recent rise in civilian casualties.

It said May was the deadliest month for civilians in Afghanistan since records began in 2007, with 368 killed.

It added that 2,777 civilians died in 2010, making it the worst year, with three-quarters of the deaths blamed on insurgents.
'Disgust and hatred'

A large number of people had been gathering at the clinic, in Azra district, for weekly treatment, many of them women, children and elderly people, Mr Darwaish said.

"The target of the blast is not clear but what is obvious is that a hospital was attacked and civilians were killed," he said.

A statement by the public health ministry, quoted by AFP news agency, expressed "disgust and hatred" towards the perpetrators of the attack.
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“Start Quote

I have lost young, old, women, men - it is no less than a doomsday”

End Quote Local official

"This inhumane act is unprecedented in the history of the conflict in our country and targeted a place where wounds are healed and patients receive treatment," it said.

Doctors and nurses were also said to be among the dead.

A member of the Logar provincial council told the BBC: ''It is one of the saddest days. I have lost young, old, women, men - it is no less than a doomsday.

"The government and its intelligence agencies should have been able to prevent this. To the enemies of the people and Islam, I say, what do you get from a bloodbath like this? Almost every house, every family is grieving."

Our correspondent says there has never been an attack on a hospital in Afghanistan on this scale, although last month a suicide bomber attacked the main military hospital in Kabul, killing six people.

There is almost no central government control over Azra, which is close to the Pakistan border, and insurgents and smugglers are well-established there, he adds.

On Friday 10 people were killed and 24 injured in a blast in the northern Kunduz province.

Two days earlier, US President Barack Obama announced a partial troop pullout from Afghanistan.

He said 33,000 troops would leave this year, with the remaining 68,000 departing by 2013.

But there are concerns among the top US military that the withdrawal will be more risky than they have advised.
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