“I have a four-month-old baby whom I left at home and came here to give them a mother’s love by breastfeeding them…I’m truly devastated that this crime was committed against our children.”
Afghan Women Volunteer to Breastfeed and Adopt Newborns After Kabul Attack
Tuesday’s horrific attack in Kabul, which saw three gunmen storm a maternity ward in the western part of Afghanistan’s capital and kill 24 civilians, has devastated both the country and the world. Mothers, their newborn babies, children, and nurses were among those killed indiscriminately.
The motive has of yet been unidentified, however many are pointing towards the fact that the hospital was located in the Dashti Barchi neighborhood, a mainly Shia part of Kabul home to many of the country’s Hazara ethnic minority. The Hazara, and Shia Muslims, have been attacked by ISIL in this very neighborhood before.
The aftermath of this deadly attack has been nothing short of tragic – husbands, fathers, and family members were seen gathering outside the hospital doors on Tuesday evening waiting to hear news of their loved ones. Scenes of killed children and mothers on the floors of the hospital were released by the Ministry of Interior Affairs.
The newborn babies who survived this attack have been moved to the Ataturk Hospital in Kabul, and the survivors continue to receive medical attention and help. Reportedly 20 newborn babies are now recovering at the hospital.
In the midst of these scenes, there has also been the tragic issue of identifying newborn babies who lost their mothers – many do not even have a name. Despite this, Afghan women from all over Kabul have been coming together in a show of solidarity and bravery – women are volunteering to both breastfeed and adopt these children without families now.
Initiated by Feroza Omar, a mother of a 14-month-old baby herself, these women went to the hospital with a team of volunteers to help feed these newborn babies just hours after the attack. Speaking to the local news outlet TOLO News, Omar stated:
All of us have been damaged by criminals who are destroying humanity in Afghanistan. I am one of those.”
Now seen as a powerful symbol of national unity among Afghans, these women continue to breastfeed and offer to adopt those newborn babies and children who remain orphaned and/or unidentified.
Aziza Kermani, one of the women volunteering to breastfeed the orphaned newborns, stated:
I have come here today to breastfeed these children because they lost their mothers in this bloody attack. I have a four month old baby whom I left at home and came here to give them a mother’s love by breastfeeding them…I’m truly devastated that this crime was committed against our children.”
Aziza, among many other Afghan women, has also courageously volunteered to adapt those newborns and children who have now become orphaned or remain unidentified.
While the country, and the world, reels from this horrific attack on humanity, many have rightfully called this a war crime and have called for an immediate investigation. As Afghanistan continues to suffer under decades of war and abuse from extremists on both ends, the innocent continue to suffer the most – the international community must remain committed to supporting those most vulnerable while remaining outspoken against these crimes against humanity.