May 12, 2020 - World

Afghan government resumes Taliban offensive after attack on maternity ward

In this image, a baby is swaddled in a blood stained blanket

An Afghan security member carries a newborn baby from a hospital, at the site of an attack in Kabul on May 12. Photo: STR/AFP via Getty Images

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani ordered his forces to resume their offensive against the Taliban on Tuesday in the wake of two deadly attacks that killed a total of 40 people, including two newborns, the Washington Post reports.

The big picture: President Trump's deal with the Taliban — which Pentagon leaders acknowledged would not bring peace to the country — was meant as a precursor to a peace process between Kabul and the Taliban. The Taliban, which has denied responsibility for the attacks, called Ghani's announcement a "declaration of war."

What happened: Sixteen people, including two newborns, were killed Tuesday in a Doctors Without Borders maternity ward in Afghanistan's capital, per the Post.

  • A suicide bomber killed 24 people on Tuesday at a funeral in the eastern Nangahar province, an attack for which the Islamic State claimed responsibility, the Post reports.
  • Parliament members and other government officials attended the event, which left 68 people wounded.
  • Though the Taliban has denied responsibility, Afghanistan's national security adviser claimed on Twitter that the group had "subcontracted their terror to other entities," adding there is "little point in continuing to engage Taliban in 'peace talks.'"

What they're saying: "During the holy month of Ramadan and amidst the threat of COVID-19, these dual attacks are particularly appalling. We note the Taliban have denied any responsibility and condemned both attacks as heinous," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on Tuesday.

  • "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.

Go deeper: In Afghanistan, a deal but no peace

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