Airstrike Kills Doctors Without Borders Staff in Afghanistan

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At least 9 staff and up to 37 have been injured after a suspected US airstrike hit a hospital run by Médecins Sans Frontières, in the Afghan city of Kunduz early on Saturday morning.

The organization said that the trauma center “was hit several times during a sustained bombing” at around 2 a.m. At the time of the bombing, 105 patients, carers and more than 80 MSF staff were in the hospital.

“We are deeply shocked by the attack, the killing of our staff and patients and the heavy toll it has inflicted on healthcare in Kunduz,” Bart Janssens, MSF’s director of operations, said.

“We do not yet have the final casualty figures, but our medical team are providing first aid and treating the injured patients and MSF personnel and accounting for the deceased. We urge all parties to respect the safety of health facilities and staff.”

A spokesman from the Kunduz Police claimed that on Friday evening Taliban fighters had entered the hospital and were firing at security forces.

The hospital was well known in the area and had previously informed all sides of the conflict of their exact location.

“The bombing continued for more than 30 minutes after American and Afghan military officials in Kabul and Washington were first informed [about Saturday’s airstrike],” the charity said. “MFS urgently seeks clarity on exactly what took place and how this terrible event could have happened.”

The US military released a statement admitting that they might be responsible:

“US forces conducted an airstrike in Kunduz city at 2:15am [local time] on 3 October against individuals threatening the force. The strike may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility. This incident is under investigation,” said Col Brian Tribus, spokesman for international forces in Afghanistan.