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Afghan maternity ward closing down after deadly gun attack

The Afghan maternity ward which was annihilated by the deadly gun attack has been decided to close down by International medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

Twenty-four women, children and babies were killed when gunmen entered the facility and opened fire on 12 May, reports BBC.

MSF said it had taken the decision "with the understanding" that the victims were deliberately targeted.

The assault at the clinic prompted widespread condemnation. No group has said it carried out the attack.

On Monday, MSF said in a statement that while no information had emerged about the perpetrators or motive of the assault on the at the Dasht-e-Barchi hospital, "mothers, babies and health staff were its deliberate target and similar attacks may repeat in the future".

MSF Director General Thierry Allafort-Duverger said that while he was aware that the agency's presence carried risks, "we just couldn't believe that someone would take advantage of the absolute vulnerability of women about to give birth to exterminate them and their babies".

MSF described the move as "necessary but painful".

A spokesman for Afghanistan's health ministry, Akmal Samsor, said the decision to close the maternity ward was a serious blow, and the ministry hoped MSF would reconsider.

Earlier, two blasts followed by numerous gunfire started about 10:00 (05:30 GMT) on May 12. Three gunmen who gained the entrance access dressed as police officers moved through the 55-bed maternity unit where they killed three mothers were shot and killed along with their unborn babies.

Later, all three of the gunmen were eventually killed and 100 women and children, including three foreigners, were rescued by the Afghan security forces.