Pompeo condemns heinous terror attacks, urges Afghanistan govt, Taliban to bring perpetrators to justice

Washington DC [USA], May 13 (ANI): The United States has called on the Taliban and Afghanistan's government to cooperate to bring to justice perpetrators of the heinous terror attacks on a maternity hospital and a funeral that killed dozens of people, including two newborn babies.

Secretary of State Michael Pompeo in a statement condemned the two attacks as "appalling" and noted that the Taliban has denied any responsibility and condemned both attacks as heinous.

"The Taliban and the Afghan government should cooperate to bring the perpetrators to justice. As long as there is no sustained reduction in violence and insufficient progress towards a negotiated political settlement, Afghanistan will remain vulnerable to terrorism," Pompeo said.

He also said that "any attack on innocents is unforgivable, but to attack infants and women in labour in the sanctuary of a hospital is an act of sheer evil."

Pompeo's remarks came in the wake of deadly attacks across the country on Tuesday, including an armed attack on a maternity hospital in the Dasht-e-Barchi district in capital Kabul and a bombing at the funeral of the Khewa district's police chief in the country's eastern Nangarhar province.

Fourteen people, including two newborns, were killed in the hospital attack while the funeral ceremony which was hit by an explosion killed at least 24 people and wounded over 70 people, according to Afghanistan local media reports.

"During the holy month of Ramadan and amidst the threat of COVID-19, these dual attacks are particularly appalling," Pompeo added.

He also said that 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 combat terrorism.

The US and Taliban signed a historic agreement in late February aimed at bringing about a permanent ceasefire.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, in light of attacks, has ordered Afghan forces to switch from "active defensive" mode to "offensive" mode and to resume attacks on the Taliban. (ANI)