Monday, October 03, 2016

One Year Anniversary of the attack on Kunduz Hospital

One year ago today, on October 3, 2015, the US military repeatedly bombed the hospital in Kunduz that was run by Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontiers, or MSF). So far, no one has been brought to justice. Here is a clip from a preliminary report from Doctors Without Borders, that was published last November:

“Hospitals have protected status under the rules of war. And yet in the early hours of 3 October, the MSF hospital in Kunduz came under relentless and brutal aerial attack by US forces. 

Patients burned in their beds, medical staff were decapitated and lost limbs, and others were shot by the circling AC- 130 gunship while fleeing the burning building. At least 30 MSF staff and patients were killed.”

They had this to say about the night of the attack:

“It is estimated that the airstrikes lasted approximately one hour, with some accounts saying the strikes continued for one hour and fifteen minutes, ending approximately 3am–3.15am.

 A series of multiple, precise and sustained airstrikes targeted the main hospital building, leaving the rest of the buildings in the MSF compound comparatively untouched. This specific building of the hospital correlates exactly with the GPS coordinates provided to the parties to the conflict (GPS coordinates were taken directly in front of the main hospital building that was hit in the airstrikes).

When the first airstrikes hit the main hospital building, two of the three operating theatres were in use. Three international and twenty-three national MSF staff were caring for patients or performing surgeries in this same main building. There were eight patients in the ICU and six patients in the area of the operating theatres. 

Those who survived the US airstrikes were direct witnesses of the attack from the different locations inside the MSF compound. 

MSF staff recall that the first room to be hit was the ICU, where MSF staff were caring for a number of immobile patients, some of whom were on ventilators. Two children were in the ICU. MSF staff were attending to these critical patients in the ICU at the time of the attack and were directly killed in the first airstrikes or in the fire that subsequently engulfed the building. Immobile patients in the ICU burned in their beds.”

This is beyond shameful. It is a war crime, and I would like to see justice done.

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