21:07 GMT +321 November 2019
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    An interior view of the MSF Trauma Centre, 14 October 2015, shows a missile hole in the wall and the burnt-out remians of the the building aftera sustained attack on the facility in Kunduz, northern Afghanistan

    One Year On: US Bombing of MSF Hospital in Kunduz Remembered

    © Photo : media.msf.org/Victor J. Blue
    Middle East
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    A year after the US bombing of a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghans call it a war crime.

    In an interview with Sputnik Kabir Ranjbar, who heads the Union of Democratic Lawyers of Afghanistan, said that even high-ranking US officials  had condemned the attack on the hospital, and called for a thorough investigation.

    “The people of Afghanistan still feel the shock and don’t understand the reason of that attack on a defenseless hospital. The NATO command knew that there was a hospital there that was treating wounded soldiers. It was a clear violation of the rules of war, an inhuman act,” Kabir Ranjbar said.

    In October 2015, the US military struck a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, killing 22 civilians and injuring many others.

    A member of the hospital’s staff who wished to remain anonymous, said that on the night of the attack he was out and that’s why he was not killed.

    “None of the doctors working inside managed to survive the airstrike, they all burned alive. They were my colleagues, Afghan citizens all. There were no foreigners among those killed as the foreign medics had left the building ahead of the attack without explanation,” he said.

    He added that a week before that airstrike the hospital had indeed been taken over by the Taliban, who commandeered all the ambulances.

    However, about 24 hours later, government forces retook the hospital and it resumed its work.

    “By the way, most of the patients were Taliban fighters. We were helping them because  we are working without borders and without political preferences. We tend to anyone who needs help,” he said.

    In an interview with Sputnik, Fatemeh Aziz, an MP representing Kunduz Province where government troops are still fighting the Taliban, said that “the situation in Kunduz is worse than in Syria or Iraq. Taliban militants keep fighting there. They have big plans  and are not going to surrender any time soon.”

    She appealed to the government, charity organizations and just about anyone to help the people of Kunduz.

    “They desperately need humanitarian assistance. Many of them have died when hiding from airstrikes in their basements. Those who survived fled to neighboring Tahar Province where they live in the streets. My fellow MPs and I have been working to make sure that their kids are allowed to attend schools in other provinces, but so far to no avail,” she complained.

    The situation in Kunduz begs for a thorough and unbiased investigation that would help prevent such humanitarian catastrophes from happening again.

    “What happened in Kunduz is not an easy matter. On the one hand, some eyewitnesses said that there were militants inside the hospital when the airstrike came. On the other, those responsible for the attack should have realized that they were breaking all imaginable laws of war and these people must be brought to account,” Afghan political observer Abdoulhamid Safut told Sputnik.


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    eyewitness accounts, responsibility, victims, airstrike, Union of Democratic Lawyers of Afghanistan, NATO, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), Abdoulhamid Safut, Fatemeh Aziz, Kabir Ranjbar, Afghanistan
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