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Senior Taliban military commander among dead in Kabul hospital attack: Report

Guarded by Taliban militants, hundreds of Afghans line up as banks reopen, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sept. 5, 2021. (Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

A senior Taliban military commander in Kabul, Hamdullah Mokhlis, was among the 19 dead in an attack that took place on a military hospital in Kabul on Tuesday, reported news agency AFP. The commander was killed after his men responded to the attack, the responsibility for which has been claimed by the Islamic State, officials further told AFP.

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.

Tuesday’s attack was the latest atrocity to rock Afghanistan since the Taliban seized power in August following the collapse of Ashraf Ghani-led government.

Claiming the responsibility for the attack, Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K) in a statement on its Telegram channels said that “five Islamic State group fighters carried out simultaneous coordinated attacks” on the sprawling site, reported AFP.

Meanwhile, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed that the Taliban forces repulsed the attack within 15 minutes. “The IS insurgents wanted to target civilians, doctors and patients in the hospital,” he added.

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 took place when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives near the hospital’s entrance. Following which, the gunmen broke into the hospital grounds, firing their weapons. “Nineteen dead bodies and about 50 wounded people have been taken to hospitals in Kabul,” a health ministry official who asked not to be named told AFP.

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(c) 2021 the Hindustan Times

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