Explosions and gunfire have been heard from inside a hospital in western Kabul, where Doctors Without Borders (MSF) operates a maternity ward. Medical staff are said to be trapped inside as the battle rages on.
The 100-bed hospital is located in the Dasht-e-Barchi area of the Afghan capital. At least two powerful explosions have been heard at the scene, TOLO News reported.
The Afghan Interior Ministry said a special police unit has arrived at the scene. Forty people have been evacuated from the compound as the police troops “are trying to clear the clinic,” a spokesman for the ministry told journalists.
Some reports claim that at least one of the explosions happened when a suicide bomber entered the hospital premises, launching the attack.
According to a Reuters source in the Interior Ministry, the attack happened when the hospital was supposed to be visited by a deputy health minister.
No casualty report was immediately available regarding the raid. A TOLO News source said five civilians, including a woman, have been killed and four others were injured. Witnesses saw wounded people among the evacuees.
The identity of the gunmen remains unknown. The Taliban militant group has denied any involvement in the attack on the hospital.
The attackers are reportedly trying to get inside a guest house on the hospital compound where foreigner personnel are staying.
MSF has been providing support to the government-run Dasht-e-Barchi hospital to operate a maternal care ward. The organization says it’s the only place in the poor neighborhood, with a population of over one million, capable of dealing with emergency and complicated deliveries.