October 05, 2015

 

 

MSF statement, Monday, October 5: Reaction to US government statement

From Christopher Stokes, General Director, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF):

"Today the US government has admitted that it was their airstrike that hit our hospital in Kunduz and killed 22 patients and MSF staff. Their description of the attack keeps changing – from collateral damage, to a tragic incident, to now attempting to pass responsibility to the Afghanistan government. The reality is the US dropped those bombs. The US hit a huge hospital full of wounded patients and MSF staff. The US military remains responsible for the targets it hits, even though it is part of a coalition. There can be no justification for this horrible attack. With such constant discrepancies in the US and Afghan accounts of what happened, the need for a full transparent independent investigation is ever more critical." 

 

MSF statement, Sunday, October 4: Reaction to statement from Afghanistan Government Authorities

From Christopher Stokes, General Director, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF):

"MSF is disgusted by the recent statements coming from some Afghanistan government authorities justifying the attack on its hospital in Kunduz. These statements imply that Afghan and US forces working together decided to raze to the ground a fully functioning hospital – with more than 180 staff and patients inside – because they claim that members of the Taliban were present. This amounts to an admission of a war crime. This utterly contradicts the initial attempts of the US government to minimise the attack as 'collateral damage'. There can be no justification for this abhorrent attack on our hospital that resulted in the deaths of MSF staff as they worked and patients as they lay in their beds. MSF reiterates its demand for a full transparent and independent international investigation." 

 

MSF statement, Sunday, October 4: Demands for a full, transparent, independent investigation 

From Christopher Stokes, General Director, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF):

“Under the clear presumption that a war crime has been committed, MSF demands that a full and transparent investigation into the event be conducted by an independent international body. Relying only on an internal investigation by a party to the conflict would be wholly insufficient. Not a single member of our staff reported any fighting inside the MSF hospital compound prior to the US airstrike on Saturday morning. The hospital was full of MSF staff, patients and their caretakers. It is 12 MSF staff members and ten patients, including three children, who were killed in the attack. We 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. We condemn this attack, which constitutes a grave violation of International Humanitarian Law.” 

 
 

Update, Sunday, October 4:

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) confirmed that 12 of its staff members had been killed in the aerial bombardment of its Kunduz hospital in Afghanistan Saturday morning.

 

Second update, Saturday, October 3:

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) condemns in the strongest possible terms the horrific bombing of its hospital in Kunduz full of staff and patients.

MSF wishes to clarify that all parties to the conflict, including in Kabul and Washington, were clearly informed of the precise location (GPS Coordinates) of the MSF facilities - hospital, guesthouse, office and an outreach stabilization unit in Chardara (to the north-west of Kunduz). As MSF does in all conflict contexts, these precise locations were communicated to all parties on multiple occasions over the past months, including most recently on 29 September.

The bombing continued for more than 30 minutes after American and Afghan military officials in Kabul and Washington were first informed. MSF urgently seeks clarity on exactly what took place and how this terrible event could have happened.

 

Update, Saturday October 3:

It is with deep sadness that we confirm so far the death of nine MSF staff during the bombing last night of MSF’s hospital in Kunduz. Latest update is that 37 people were seriously wounded during the bombing, of whom 19 are MSF staff. Some of the most critically injured are being transferred for stabilisation to a hospital in Puli Khumri, 2 hours’ drive away. There are many patients and staff who remain unaccounted for. The numbers keep growing as we develop a clearer picture of the aftermath of this horrific bombing.

 

First Report, Saturday October 3:

At 2:10AM on Saturday, October 3 the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Trauma centre in Kunduz was hit several times during sustained bombing and was very badly damaged.

Three MSF staff are confirmed dead and more than 30 are unaccounted for. The medical team is working around the clock to do everything possible for the safety of patients and hospital staff.

“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,” says Bart Janssens, MSF Director of Operations. “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.”

Since fighting broke out on Monday, MSF has treated 394 wounded. When the aerial attack occurred this morning we had 105 patients and their care-takers in the hospital and over 80 MSF international and local staff present. 

MSF’s hospital is the only facility of its kind in the whole north-eastern region of Afghanistan, providing free life- and limb-saving trauma care. MSF doctors treat all people according to their medical needs and do not make distinctions based on a patient’s ethnicity, religious beliefs or political affiliation.

 

MSF in Afghanistan

MSF started working in Afghanistan in 1980. In Kunduz, just like in the rest of Afghanistan, both national and international staff work together to ensure the best quality of treatment. MSF supports the Ministry of Public Health in Ahmad Shah Baba hospital in eastern Kabul, Dasht-e-Barchi maternity in western Kabul and Boost hospital in Lashkar Gah, Helmand province. In Khost, in the east of the country, MSF operates a maternity hospital. MSF relies only on private funding for its work in Afghanistan and does not accept money from any government.

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