- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday called on the Taliban and the Afghan government to bring to justice the gunmen responsible for an attack at a Kabul maternity hospital that killed at least 13, including two newborns.

Gunmen stormed the hospital Tuesday in an attack that set off an hourslong shootout with police.

The motive of the attack on the 100-bed hospital remains unclear, but local security forces said they were able to evacuate at least 80 women and babies from the building, according to Al Jazeera.

In a statement, Mr. Pompeo condemned the attack “in the strongest terms.”

“Any attack on innocents is unforgivable, but to attack infants and women in labor in the sanctuary of a hospital is an act of sheer evil,” he said.

Mr. Pompeo said the Taliban have denied responsibility for the attack and condemned the incident as “heinous.”

The incident came more than two months after the U.S. and Taliban struck an “understanding” to decrease violence in Afghanistan that was expected to bring both sides closer to an agreement to end America’s longest war.

Since March 1, the Taliban has carried out roughly 55 attacks per day, according to the Afghan National Security Council. The Pentagon’s Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction last week said that the significant uptick in March attacks were “above seasonal norms.”

Mr. Pompeo said that Afghanistan will remain vulnerable to violent attacks if there is “no sustained reduction in violence and insufficient progress towards a negotiated political settlement.”

“The Afghan people deserve a future free from terror, and the ongoing peace process continues to present a critical opportunity for Afghans to come together to build a united front against the menace of terrorism.”

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