Dr. Kathleen Thomas, an Australian trained doctor and the supervising physician responsible for both the ICU and ER at the MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières) or Doctors without Borders trauma center and hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan recalls the US airstrike on October 3rd, 2015. At the time of the airstrike, the trauma center was overwhelmed from the recent Taliban offensive which resulted in the city being turned over to Taliban control. At 2 am the airstrike lasted for approximately 30 min and totaled in 211 rounds impacting the hospital and surrounding areas. The US airstrike resulted in deaths of  14 medical staff, 24 patients, and 4 family members. Additionally there were 37 others wounded. The trauma center to this day still has not been replaced and people must travel to Kabul for the treatment of life threatening injuries.

Ultimately, Dr. Thomas believes that it was the tension of the neutrality of the hospital that resulted in the airstrike. She mentioned that the Afghan police were very clear that they did not like the hospital treating the Taliban or Taliban supporters. This tension could have resulted in faulty intelligence from the Afghan forces. This past March, the US formally apologized to all those affected by the US airstrike and revealed the findings of their investigation. According to the official investigation, the US airstrike on the hospital was the result of a faulty targeting system. The Taliban stronghold that the US strike was intended for was only approximately 450 meters away. After the US investigation was complete, the MSF leadership insisted on a third party investigation, however, those results have not been made pubic yet. The MSF also approached the UN Security council in an attempt to get more protection of hospitals in war zones. The video below will give you a first hand account of the US airstrikes on the MSF hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan.

 

Image courtesy of AFP

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