A suicide bomber and gunmen were behind an attack on a Kabul hospital that killed at least 19 people on Tuesday, a Taliban official said.
“The attack was initiated by a suicide bomber on a motorcycle who blew himself up at the entrance of the hospital,” said the official on condition on anonymity, adding the attack was now over and the assailants had all been killed.
Photographs shared by residents showed a plume of smoke over the area of the blasts near the former diplomatic zone in the Wazir Akbar Khan area of the city and witnesses said at least two helicopters were flying over the area.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility. But the official Bakhtar news agency quoted witnesses saying a number of ISIS fighters entered the hospital and clashed with security forces.
The blasts add to a growing list of attacks and killings since the Taliban completed their victory over the previous Western-backed government in August, undermining their claim to have restored security to Afghanistan after decades of war.
A health worker at the hospital, who managed to escape, said he heard a large explosion followed by a couple of minutes of gunfire. About ten minutes later, there was a second, larger explosion, he said.
He said it was unclear whether the blasts and the gunfire were inside the sprawling hospital complex.