As It Happens

Kabul maternity hospital attack must never be forgiven nor forgotten: security official 

Javid Faisal has witnessed violence and bloodshed his whole life — but a deadly attack on a maternity hospital on Tuesday is unlike anything he’s ever seen.

At least 16 killed, including 2 newborn babies

A baby is taken away by ambulance after gunmen attacked a maternity hospital, in Kabul on Tuesday. (Rahmat Gul/Associated Press)


Javid Faisal has witnessed violence and bloodshed his whole life — but a deadly attack on a maternity hospital on Tuesday is unlike anything he's ever seen.

Militants stormed a hospital in Kabul where Doctors Without Borders runs a maternity clinic, setting off an hours-long shoot-out with the police and killing 16 people, including two newborn babies, their mothers and several members of the medical staff.

Afghan security forces were eventually able to stop the gunman and rescue the remaining staff and patients. Nobody has claimed responsibility for the attack. 

On the same day, a suicide bomber in eastern Nangarhar province targeted a funeral, killing at least 24 people and wounding 68, the Interior Ministry says. 

Faisal, a spokesperson for the Afghan National Security Council, has visited those injured in the hospital attack. Here is part of his conversation with As It Happens host Carol Off. 

I understand you have met some of the survivors of this attack. Can you tell us how they're doing?

It was a sad day for the entire nation. For those who [were] stuck in the attack and those who lost loved ones.

Some of the survivors, they are doing good today. Their injuries are getting recovered. But then they have all been through a trauma and that's something that will be with them for a long, long time — mainly with those mothers and the babies that were just born.

All of that pain that we have and the trauma, it's leaving an impact on us.- Javid Faisal, Afghan National Security Council 

This was a maternity hospital, is that right?

It was a maternity hospital and there were dozens of mothers who were preparing to give birth. And there were just-born babies, dozens of them. And sadly, they were also the ones that lost lives to this terrorist attack. They were the first ones to be shot dead by the terrorists.

A man cries after an attack in maternity hospital in Kabul. (Rahmat Gul/The Associated Press)

Can you tell us what happened in this attack? 

It's a hospital, it's a maternity hospital, and nobody is expecting this kind of an attack to take place, killing women and children and the newborn babies.

These terrorists, they just got into the hospital, they opened fire at everybody they could see before the national defence and security forces raced to the site of the attack and killed the terrorists and rescued more than 100 infants, mothers and medical staff.

Afghan women sit in an ambulance after being rescued by security forces. (Mohammad Ismail/Reuters)

You've gone through so much in the city of Kabul. You've seen so many attacks. What effect does it have on you seeing this attack on a maternity hospital?

We have so much pain and trauma. All of our lives, we have seen terrorists kill fathers in front of their young daughters and sons. We have seen mothers killed in front of children, and husbands killed by terrorists in front of their wives.

But this time, it was very, very ruthless. It wasn't something anyone would expect. It's far from humanity.

And all of that pain that we have and the trauma, it's leaving an impact on us.

Of course, this is a pain that will last forever. We are not going to forget this and we are not going to forgive this. 

An Afghan security officer carries a baby to safety. (Rahmat Gul/The Associated Press)

You sound quite young. I'm guessing that you are, and that you have seen, probably most of your life, you have seen these kinds of events and these kinds of killings. It must take its toll on you.

I was born in 1992. It was when we were at war, and it's still the war that continues. So it has taken almost all of my life and it has taken almost the lives of the generation before us.

It's really, really sad, but we are a nation that [will] continue to work for our resolve for peace.

No one has claimed responsibility. Both Taliban and ISIS are operating in Kabul and Afghanistan. Is there any sense of who might have done this attack on the hospital?

The violence has been continued by the Taliban. They are the main source of violence. They are the ones responsible for the attacks on civilians. 

And so what damage do you think the Taliban — if they are responsible — that they did to their effort to try and have a peace agreement with the Afghan government?

The problem is they have never shown any intent for peace. They have continued to have violence against Afghan people. They have continued to kill Afghan people. 

That doesn't mean they want peace. Peace means there has to be calm. There has to be intent. There has to be actions that [are] pro-peace.

Taliban killing civilians — they are attacking our structures, attacking our ... police — and that's all violence. That's not peace. 

Written by Sheena Goodyear with files from The Associated Press. Interview produced by Chris Harbord. Q&A has been edited for length and clarity. 

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