Baby Survives After Being Shot Twice in Afghanistan Maternity Ward Massacre That Killed 24
Little Nazia was just three hours old when the gunmen opened fire, injuring her and killing her mother
Little Nazia was just three hours old when three armed men dressed as police officers entered the Dasht-e-Barchi Hospital’s maternity ward and opened fire, killing the baby’s mother, also named Nazia, and at least 23 other people, according to the The Times.
The child was reportedly shot twice, and she has since undergone surgery to mend her right leg, which was shattered by a bullet.
“We set Nazia’s fracture, so she will be able to walk when she grows up,” Dr. Noor ul-Haq Yousafzai, director at the Indira Gandhi Children's Hospital, which took in some of the babies, told the Times. “But to see a newborn baby, just three hours old, shot twice. Everyone is shocked. This is inhuman.”
Nazia had her surgery on Wednesday — the same day her mother was buried.
The woman’s husband, Rafiullah, attended the funeral before returning to the hospital to visit his miracle baby, upon whom he bestowed the same name as his late wife.
“On Tuesday morning, my world, my life, ended. I am glad my daughter is alive, but my wife is gone,” Rafiullah told the Times.
Several other mothers and babies were killed in the attack, and it took five hours for hospital personnel to kill the three militant assailants, The New York Times reported. During that time, Afghan special forces were spotted rescuing babies from the hospital.
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A dozen newborns were evacuated and taken to other hospitals without their mothers, whose names had been written on tape and placed on the babies’ stomachs, the newspaper reported.
“It is beyond shocking that innocent babies could be killed, some before they even had a name,” Yousafzai told the U.K. Times. “I cannot imagine anything more cowardly.”
The hospital’s maternity ward is run by Doctors Without Borders, and the charity’s head in Afghanistan Frederic Bonnot told AFP that the gunmen’s mission appeared “systematic” and “methodical,” targeting the 26 women who were patients at the time.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks — and the Taliban has denied responsibility — though Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. negotiator on Afghanistan, blamed the Islamic State, according to the U.K. Times.
He said that the Islamic State is opposed to a peace agreement between Afghanistan and the Taliban, and is trying to stoke “sectarian war” like in Iraq and Syria.
“Rather than falling into the ISIS trap and delay peace or create obstacles, Afghans must come together to crush this menace and pursue a historic peace opportunity,” he said. “No more excuses. Afghans, and the world, deserve better.”