Northern Afghanistan – Residents fled more violence in Kunduz today as the Taliban continues to present a problem for the Afghan army, which is struggling under pressure. The news comes as the United States admits to bombing a Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) hospital in the area, killing civilians.
Doctors Without Borders have called the incident, which occurred on Saturday, a war crime. At least twenty two people were killed in the attack. Jason Cone, the executive director of MSF, said earlier today that the group demanded that “a full and transparent investigation into the event be conducted by an independent, international body.”
MSF says the hospital was struck repeatedly on Saturday, even though everyone in the area knew it was a working medical facility. “We had made clear the exact GPS coordinates of our health facilities in the Kunduz compound to coalition forces, to Afghan forces, to Taliban and to U.S. officials, both in Washington and Kabul and in both the civilian and military leadership,” Cone told NPR on Sunday.
“The hospital was full of patients. That was widely known. We had close to 200 staff and patients that were at the hospital at the time of the attack. I want to reiterate that the main hospital building where medical personnel were caring for patients was repeatedly and very precisely hit during each aerial raid while the rest of the compound was left mostly untouched. So we see this as a targeted event.”
The United States sats that Taliban forces chose to strategically position themselves in the urban area among civilians prior to the attack. Gen. John Campbell, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said the airstrike was called to “eliminate the Taliban threat” as Afghan forces were taking fire. Campbell said “several innocent civilians were accidentally struck” in the process and he offered his condolences.