Afghan commanders suspended over Kabul hospital attack

Security forces inspect the site of attack on a military hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, March 8, 2017. The attack was claimed by the Islamic State group.



KABUL, Afghanistan — An Afghan general is among nine soldiers who have been suspended pending an investigation into an attack on the country’s largest military hospital that killed at least 50 people in March, the military said.

The storming of Sardar Daud Khan hospital in central Kabul last month highlighted militants’ ability to attack heavily guarded government institutions. It raised fears that similar attacks could be carried out in the coming year.

“Nine people have been suspended, including one general, one colonel and three majors, for not carrying out their duties when the attack happened, and they are being investigated,” Defense Ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri said.

“If any of these people are found to have been negligent they will be punished,” he said. “It will be an example to others that anyone in the military who is incompetent will be punished.”

NATO has been working with the Afghans to rid the security forces of incompetent commanders, who they say are partly to blame for recent insurgent gains.

“It can’t give me my brother back, but it is still a little comforting that some of the officials are being interrogated about what happened,” said Noor Alam, 38, whose brother was killed during the hospital attack.

Gunmen disguised as medics stormed Sardar Daud Khan hospital — located near the U.S. Embassy and NATO’s headquarters — on March 8.

The local branch of the Islamic State group claimed responsibility.

The Defense Ministry said that an investigation into how militants were able to infiltrate the hospital was continuing and that findings would be released at a later date.

Zubair Babakarkhail contributed to this report.

Twitter: @PhillipWellman


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