After U.S. Airstrike, 9 Dead At Doctors Without Borders Hospital
On May 21, an Afghan child is being treated at a Doctors Without Borders hospital in the northern city of Kunduz, after being injured in a fight between the Taliban and Afghan security forces. Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images hide caption
itoggle caption Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images On May 21, an Afghan child is being treated at a Doctors Without Borders hospital in the northern city of Kunduz, after being injured in a fight between the Taliban and Afghan security forces.
Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images
Updated at 6:08 a.m. ET
An aerial attack carried out by U.S. forces may have partially damaged a Mdecins Sans Frontires trauma center in the Afghan city of Kunduz in the early hours on Saturday. Around the same time of the U.S.-led attack, the international medical aid group MSF, commonly known as Doctors Without Borders, says a "sustained bombing" hit the building, leaving nine medical staff dead and "more than 30 unaccounted for."
It is not yet known whether the strikes that hit the hospital were carried out by U.S. military or Afghan forces. U.S. Army Colonel Brian Tribus, a spokesman for U.S. Forces in Afghanistan released a statement:
"U.S. forces conducted an airstrike in Kunduz city at 2:15 a.m. (local), 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."
In a statement, MSF says they are currently accounting for final casualty numbers from an "aerial attack" they say occured at 2:10 a.m.:
"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."
The attack comes six days after Taliban militants recaptured the city, marking their biggest military gain in 14 years. MSF says that they have treated 394 wounded patients since fighting broke out on Monday, and that at the time of this morning's attack, 105 patients and their caretakers were in the hospital, along with more than 80 staff present.
MSF calls the hospital the "only facility of its kind" in Afghanistan's northeastern region, providing free trauma care, regardless of a "patient's ethnicity, religious beliefs or political affiliation."