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Afghanistan: US airstrike on hospital kills 9, injures dozens

3rd Oct 2015
Afghanistan: US airstrike on hospital kills 9, injures dozens

By Zabihullah Tamanna

 

JALALABAD, (AA): An Afghan health official has said a U.S. air strike on a hospital early Saturday morning in northern Kunduz city has killed and wounded dozens of people.

Although the country’s interior ministry said Taliban militants were targeted, Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF) said nine of its workers died and 19 seriously wounded in the incident.

Bart Janssens, MSF Director of Operations said many more staff members are missing.

“At 2:10 a.m. local time [0930 GMT] on Saturday October 3, the Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres’ trauma center in Kunduz was hit several times during sustained bombing and was very badly damaged,” Bart said in a statement.

“Nine 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.”

The statement added that 105 patients and their carers in the hospital and over 80 MSF international and national staff were present when attack occurred.

U.S. forces confirmed that a strike “may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility,” Col. Brian Tribus said in a statement.

Afghan health officials in Kunduz say there are higher numbers of causalities.

“U.S. air strikes on the MSF hospital have killed tens of people; the hospital building was partially damaged,” said Saad Mukhtar, chief of Kunduz health department, speaking to Anadolu Agency.

The interior ministry said Taliban militants had taken position in the hospital compound and were firing on Afghan forces at the time of the attack.

“Afghan security forces launched a clearing operation on hospital last night where tens of militants had positioned,” said Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for the ministry.

“The enemies of peace and stability use civilian homes and fire on Afghan forces from time to time,” he said.

Sediqqi added that Afghan forces had transferred about 70 MSF staff to a safe zone during the operation.

Kunduz city has been at the center of intense fighting between Taliban insurgents and government forces, backed up by international air strikes. Control of the city has fluctuated this week between the two camps, with Afghan forces still trying to clear the rebels.

Additional input by The Muslim News

 

[Photo: Aftermath of bombing by the US of Kunduz hospital. Photograph by Medicines Sains Frontiers]

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