KABUL: As armed men rampaged through an Afghan hospital, shooting dead mothers and babies, a group of pregnant women hid in a room with one of them about to give birth.

"The mother was in pain but was trying not to make any sound," said a midwife who helped deliver the baby girl and sever the umbilical cord with her bare hands.

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"She even put her finger in the newborn baby's mouth to stop her from crying," the woman told AFP by phone on Friday (May 15), her voice still shaking three days after the attack in Kabul.

The raid on the Barchi National Hospital left 24 people dead, including newborns, mothers and nurses, and sparked international outrage.

A nurse feeds a newborn baby rescued and brought to Ataturk Children hospital on May 15, 2020, after the mother was killed during a gunmen attack on a maternity hospital in Kabul.
(Photo: AFP/Wakil Kohsar)

READ: 'A horrific, brutal act': Maternity ward massacre shakes Afghanistan and its peace process

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There were 26 mothers in the hospital on the morning gunmen posing as members of the Afghan security forces burst in, said the Doctors Without Borders charity, which runs the maternity ward.

Eleven of them were killed during the hourslong attack, including three in a delivery room with their newborn babies. Five were wounded.

Another 10 sheltered in "safe rooms", which are common in Afghanistan and are often armoured to protect the occupants from gunfire or rockets.

Two newborn babies who lost their mothers in an attack on a maternity ward in the Afghanistan capital Kabul. (Photo: AFP/STR)

READ: Afghan hospital attackers 'came to kill mothers': MSF

The midwife, who spoke to AFP on the condition of anonymity, also rushed to one of the safe rooms when the emergency siren went off.

As she and some of the women huddled inside, they could hear gunshots as the attackers went from room to room throughout the hospital.

Then one of the women began to give birth.

"We helped her with our bare hands, we had nothing else in the room except some toilet paper and our scarves," the midwife said.

"When the baby was born, we cut the umbilical cord using our hands. We used our headscarves to wrap the baby and the mother."

As the terrified women tried to stay quiet, they could heaRead More – Source