U.S. Airstrike on Afghanistan Hospital Kills 19 (incl. 3 children) 37 Wounded

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To clarify: all parties to the conflict, including in Kabul and Washington, were clearly informed of the precise location (GPS Coordinates) of the MSF facilities in Kunduz, including the hospital, guesthouse, office and an outreach stabilization unit in Chardara northwest of Kunduz.

Doctors Without Borders staff members at a hospital in Kunduz that was badly damaged in an airstrike on Saturday. Credit Doctors Without Borders

Doctors Without Borders staff members at a hospital in Kunduz that was badly damaged in an airstrike on Saturday. Credit Doctors Without Borders

A U.S. airstrike on a hospital run by international medical-aid organization Doctors Without Borders early Saturday in the Afghan city of Kunduz killed at least 19 people, prompting condemnation from humanitarian groups and the United Nations.

In a statement, the aid group accused the American military of continuing the bombing for 30 minutes after receiving phone calls telling military contacts that the hospital was being bombed.

The organization said 12 Afghan staff members and at least seven patients, among them three children, were killed when its trauma center “was hit several times during a sustained bombing” shortly after 2 a.m.

Doctors Without Borders, which released the casualty numbers, said 37 people were wounded of whom 19 were hospital staff and 18 were patients or their caregivers, which means mostly family members. The organization described the facility as “very badly damaged.”

There are many patients and staff who remain unaccounted for. The numbers may grow as a clearer picture develops of the aftermath of this horrific bombing.

“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,” the statement said. “MSF urgently seeks clarity on exactly what took place and how this terrible event could have happened,” it said.

Doctors Without Borders surgeons worked in an undamaged part of the organization’s hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, after operating theaters were destroyed in an airstrike. PHOTO: DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS

Doctors Without Borders surgeons worked in an undamaged part of the organization’s hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, after operating theaters were destroyed in an airstrike. PHOTO: DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS

“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.”


The hospital nurse, who asked not to be identified because he had instructions not to speak to reporters, said that two nurses had been killed, as well as three doctors, a pharmacist and two guards. “Most of my colleagues died in the fire after the bombing,” he said.

CQaYDqDUAAAiLyh“When the bombing occurred, we were treating patients; then we lost our way, everyone stumbled and fumbled to escape,” the nurse said. “I don’t even remember how I got out.”

Another nurse described treating himself because there was no one to help him.

Doctors Without Borders said 105 patients and caretakers had been at the hospital, along with 80 staff members. The hospital was “partially destroyed” in the bombing, the group said, adding that it had been “hit several times.”

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) condemns in the strongest possible terms the horrific bombing of its hospital in Kunduz, which was 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 in Kunduz, including the hospital, guesthouse, office and an outreach stabilization unit in Chardara northwest of Kunduz.

As it does in all conflict contexts, MSF communicated the precise locations of its facilities to all parties on multiple occasions over the past months, including most recently on September 29.

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

UPDATE ON HOSPITAL BOMBING CASUALTIES:

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

MSF nurse Lajos Zoltan Jecs was in Kunduz trauma hospital when the facility was struck by a series of aerial bombing raids in the early hours of Saturday morning. He describes his experience.

“We tried to take a look into one of the burning buildings. I cannot describe what was inside. There are no words for how terrible it was. In the Intensive Care Unit six patients were burning in their beds.” read more

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