On October 3, 2015, the U.S. Armed Forces repeatedly bombed a hospital run by the charity organization Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Kunduz, in northern Afghanistan.
Reports claim that 22 were killed (10 patients and 12 members of the medical staff), over 30 injured and 33 were officially reported missing as a consequence of the fatal airstrike. To make matters worse, MSF had contacted and informed all parties involved in the conflict about the location of the hospital. Doctors Without Borders had contacted U.S. military officials on September 29 to confirm the precise location of their Kunduz hospital complex.
The MSF reports that on October 3 between approximately 02:00 AM and 03:00 AM local time, the hospital in Kunduz was the target of several U.S. airstrikes which partially destroyed the complex and killed 22 patients and members of the medical staff.
That this was a terrible mistake which should have never happened is obvious, but the victims and the public deserve to hear the truth, while U.S. military officials have been changing their story on a daily bases.
Hours after the bombing, the spokesperson of the U.S. Armed Forces in Afghanistan states that there was an airstrike in the area and that “there may have been collateral damage to a nearby medical facility”.
Later that day, General J. Campbell, U.S. commander-in-chief in Afghanistan, confirmed the bombing which was allegedly targeting “insurgents who were directly firing upon U.S. service members advising and assisting Afghan Security Forces”. This was repeated on October 4. That same day, the spokesperson of the Afghan Interior Ministry Sediq Sediqi confirmed the airstrike, adding that reports claim there were 10-15 Taliban fighters in the hospital.
October 5, General J. Campbell admits there were civilian casualties: “Afghan Security Forces advised they were taking heavy fire from enemy positions and asked for air-support from U.S. forces. An airstrike was called to eliminate the Taliban threat and several civilians were struck accidentally.”
On the other hand, the chairman of MSF, Christopher Stokes stated: “If there was a major military operation going on in the area, our staff would have noticed. And that wasn’t the case when the strikes occurred.”
October 6, in a testimony in front of the American Congress, Campbell changes his story once again. He admits the hospital being hit: “The hospital was mistakenly struck. Never would we intentionally target a medical facility.” Moreover, he admits that the decision to bomb the area was not due to the request of the Afghan Forces, but that the decision was made “within the US chain of command”.
The MSF has released an official statement reflecting the “ever-changing nature” of the testimony of U.S. officials:
“Their [U.S.] description of the attack is constantly changing — from collateral damage, to a tragic incident, to now attempting to pass responsibility to the Afghanistan government. There can be no justification for this horrible attack.”
U.S. military officials have promised a full investigation of the incident, however, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) have demanded an independent investigation after questioning the testimony of U.S. officials.