Kunduz Hospital Bombing Not An Accident – Whose Fault is it?

 In Foreign, Military

Stripes reported that the MSF is claiming that the bombing of the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan on October 3 was not an accident.

kunduz hospital bombing

The hospital in Kunduz after it was bombed – photo via the Oslo Times

The Kunduz hospital bombing

The Director of MSF (Doctors Without Borders), Christopher Stokes, stated:

“The hospital was repeatedly hit both at the front and the rear and extensively destroyed and damaged, even though we have provided all the coordinates and all the right information to all the parties in the conflict…The extensive, quite precise destruction of this hospital … doesn’t indicate a mistake. The hospital was repeatedly hit. The bombing went on for more than an hour, despite calls to Afghan, U.S. and NATO to call if off.” Christopher Stokes

They have called for an independent review of the bombing, but that is unlikely to proceed without the cooperation of both the U.S. and Afghanistan. Meanwhile…

Armed Taliban on Premises?

Afghanistan’s interim Defense Minister told the Associated Press that the Taliban was using the MSF hospital as a “safe place.”  They were aware that airstrikes were deliberately avoiding the hospital, and advised that the day of the attack, a Taliban flag was mounted on one of the hospital’s walls.

“The compound was being used by people who were fighting there, whether it was Taliban or ISI [Interservices Intelligence Agency- a proTaliban group] or whoever they were…If the fighting was not coming from there, that kind of a mistake will never happen.” Defense Minister Masoom Stanekzai

Who to believe

The MSF has repeatedly denied such claims, saying that though the hospital treated some Taliban members, no weapons were allowed in the hospital, and “no armed insurgents” were present in the facility  at the time of the attack.

As the fallout from the bombing continues, and the blame-game escalates, the U.S. General in command of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Gen. John Campbell, has stated that the bombing was a “mistake” and was “called in” by Afghan troops. The investigation is ongoing.

The hospital is closed and Doctors Without Borders has withdrawn from the region.

 

 

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