Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Statement from Veterans for Peace

Gerry Condon Comments About the Recent Hospital Attack in Kunduz, Afghanistan

The US army must be held accountable for the senseless killing of innocent civilians in a likely deliberate attack on a Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) hospital in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, the vice president of Veterans For Peace (VFP) told Sputnik on Tuesday.

US commander in Afghanistan John Campbell said earlier that the airstrike on the hospital, which claimed 22 lives, was a mistake made by US Command and Control.

This account of events has been questioned by a number of media outlets that cited US sources and Afghanistan officials as saying that the attack was justified because there reportedly were Taliban militants present in the hospital.

"Eyewitness accounts and Afghan military sources indicate the hospital was attacked deliberately, on the pretext that members of the Taliban were treated there," VFP Gerry Condon said. "It is high time that the U.S. military be held accountable for the deaths of innocent civilians.”

The US airstrike on the hospital left 12 MSF aid workers dead, as well as 10 patients, including children. Washington has opened a probe into the attack, but the health charity has said that it considers the lethal incident to be a war crime and demands an independent investigation into the incident by an international body.

"If the attack was indeed deliberate, then it is a very serious war crime. We support Doctors Without Borders’ call for an independent investigation. We have seen what happens when the Pentagon is allowed to investigate itself," the senior VFP official told Sputnik.

Condon added this would not be the first US war crime in Afghanistan. "For the last fourteen years, there have been countless incidents where wedding parties, for example, have become ‘collateral damage’," he said.

Earlier in the day, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for an impartial investigation into the incident.

No comments: