On Saturday, a hospital in northern Afghanistan operated by the organization Doctors Without Borders suffered an attack from U.S.-led coalition forces. Twenty-two people were killed in the bombing, including 12 hospital staffers. Three of the deaths have been reported as children in the intensive care unit.
The bombing, which took place at a hospital in the city of Kunduz, was reportedly requested by Afghan military officers who were under fire from Taliban forces. Officials speaking on condition of anonymity told the AP that the U.S. responded to the request by firing from an AC-130 gunship. However, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter would not confirm whether the gunship actually destroyed the hospital.
The New York Times reported on Sunday that Doctors Without Borders would be leaving the city of Kunduz as a result of the bombing. The Times wrote:
“The closing of the hospital will leave not only the residents of Kunduz, but also those of neighboring districts and provinces, with scant medical care. It was the only free trauma care hospital in northern Afghanistan, according to Doctors Without Borders. The group said that in 2014 more than 22,000 patients received treatment at the hospital and more than 5,900 surgical procedures were performed.”
This latest bombing in Kunduz comes just days after the U.S. government refused to apologize to a Yemeni man whose family was killed by a U.S. drone bombing.
Kunduz has recently been the site of fighting between Afghan military forces and the Taliban. President Obama promised to investigate the bombings, stating that “the Department of Defense has launched a full investigation, and we will await the results of that inquiry before making a definitive judgement as to the circumstances of this tragedy.”
Doctors Without Borders issued a statement Sunday calling the bombing a war crime.
“There can be no justification for this abhorrent attack on our hospital that resulted in the deaths of MSF (the organization’s French acronym) staff as they worked and patients as they lay in their beds,” the statement reads. “MSF reiterates its demand for a full transparent and independent international investigation.”
The AP reports Christopher Stokes, the charity’s general director, is demanding an independent investigation, stating “MSF demands that a full and transparent investigation into the event be conducted by an independent international body. Relying only on an internal investigation by a party to the conflict would be wholly insufficient.”
On Monday the organization reiterated its position, stating “The reality is the US dropped those bombs. The US hit a huge hospital full of wounded patients and MSF staff.”
The incident is yet another reminder of the true cost of the United States’ involvement in the global War on Terror. Is this what Americans are paying for? A haphazard war fought for questionable reasons using inaccurate intelligence and tools? The unfortunate reality is that no matter how many Americans oppose the War on Terror they will continue to pay for it through taxation.