Months before US airstrikes repeatedly attacked a Doctors Without Borders hospital located in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, the organization stated in a July press release that its facility had been raided by Afghan special forces who assaulted the staff members and arrested patients.
According to the press release:
[pull_quote_center]On Wednesday 1 July at 14:07, heavily armed men from Afghan Special Forces entered the MSF hospital compound, cordoned off the facility and began shooting in the air. The armed men physically assaulted three MSF staff members and entered the hospital with weapons. They then proceeded to arrest three patients. Hospital staff tried their best to ensure continued medical care for the three patients, and in the process, one MSF staff member was threatened at gunpoint by two armed men. After approximately one hour, the armed men released the three patients and left the hospital compound.[/pull_quote_center]
Doctors Without Borders, also known as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), condemned the “violent intrusion.” Three months after the raid, US airstrikes attacked the hospital for between 30 and 45 minutes according to hospital officials, killing 22 people including 12 members of staff and 10 civilian patients including 3 children.
The hospital was repeatedly & precisely hit during each aerial raid, while the rest of the compound was left mostly untouched #Kunduz
— MSF International (@MSF) October 4, 2015
U.S. forces have displayed difficulty in explaining what led to the deadly attack last Saturday. Initial reports from the Pentagon claimed that the strikes were ordered to protect U.S. forces under threat; later, a U.S. general in Afghanistan said the airstrike “was requested by Afghan troops who had come under fire.”
MSF said that “it had repeatedly informed the U.S.-led coalition of the facility’s precise GPS coordinates over the past few months. The location of the hospital was last conveyed to the international coalition three days before the airstrike,” according to the Washington Post.
“A hospital was mistakenly struck,” General John Campbell, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday. “We would never intentionally target a protected medical facility.”
Doctors Without Borders/MSF have strongly maintained that the airstrikes in its hospital amount to a war crime, and have demanded an investigation into the incident.