Senior Taliban commander among dead in Kabul hospital attack
Kabul, Nov 03: A Taliban military commander in Kabul was among the fighters killed when his men responded to an Islamic State attack on a hospital, officials said Wednesday.
Hamdullah Mokhlis, a member of the hardline Haqqani network and an officer in the Badri Corps special forces, is the most senior figure to have been killed since the Taliban seized the capital.
"When he got the information that Sardar Daud Khan Hospital was under attack, Maulvi Hamdullah (Mokhlis), the commander of the Kabul corps, immediately rushed to the scene," the Taliban media official said.
"We tried to stop him but he laughed. Later we found out that he was martyred in the face-to-face fight at the hospital," he added.
At least 19 people were killed and 50 more wounded in two explosions heard on Tuesday near the Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan military hospital in Afghanistan's capital city Kabul, followed by the sound of gunfire, media reports stated. The casualties are expected to increase.
A Taliban official, on condition on anonymity, told news agency AFP that a suicide bomber and a gunmen were behind the Kabul hospital attack.
The Taliban's rivals, the Islamic State group, claimed responsibility for the gun and bomb assault in the centre of the capital.
Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K) said in a statement on its Telegram channels that "five Islamic State group fighters carried out simultaneous coordinated attacks" on the sprawling site.
"The IS insurgents wanted to target civilians, doctors and patients in the hospital," Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said, claiming that Taliban forces had repulsed the attack within 15 minutes.
As part of the response, he said, Taliban "special forces" were dropped onto the roof of the hospital from one of the helicopters that the group seized from Afghanistan's former US-backed government.
The attack got under way when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives near the facility's entrance. Gunmen then broke into the hospital grounds, firing their weapons.