USA Accused of War Crime in Afghanistan

MSF hospital bombing

The U.S. government has been accused of bombing a large hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, early in the morning of October 3rd. After an initial statement that the aerial bombardment was “collateral damage” from a nearby strike, new information has emerged that suggests the hospital was the intended target. At least 23 people died, including 13 staff members and 10 patients, three of whom were children.

Hospitals are generally immune from attack under the Geneva Conventions and the Law of Land Warfare. Doctors Without Borders, referred to internationally in French as Medecins Sans Frontières (MSF), stressed that it had “communicated the precise locations of its facilities to all parties on multiple occasions over the past months” and yet, despite this, the NATO bombing of the hospital continued for over 30 minutes, even after MSF “frantically phoned” Washington.

The MSF accusations appear to have been confirmed in a Washington Post article that quoted Hamdullah Danishi, the acting governor of Kunduz Province, and Fawzia Koofi, an Afghan member of parliament. Both men suggested that the hospital was deliberately targeted because of the alleged presence of Taliban fighters. MSF denies that the Taliban were ever on the hospital grounds.

The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John F. Campbell, says that an AC-130 gunship fired on the hospital by mistake.

“To be clear, the decision to provide (airstrikes) was a U.S. decision, made within the U.S. chain of command,” Campbell said. “The hospital was mistakenly struck. We would never intentionally target a protected medical facility.”

Appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Campbell said he could not provide more details about what happened, including who may have failed to follow procedures for avoiding attacks on hospitals. He said he must await the outcome of multiple investigations.

More info:
We Have Committed a War Crime: ‘Patients Were Burning in Their Beds’

An exclusive first look at the horrific aftermath of the U.S. attack in northern Afghanistan.

  1. #1 by Richard Warnick on October 7, 2015 - 11:17 am

    The Taliban respected the neutrality of the Doctors Without Borders hospital. The Afghan government forces didn’t. The USA claims that our people didn’t know it was a hospital when it was designated a target by our Afghan allies.

  2. #2 by Larry Bergan on October 7, 2015 - 6:06 pm

    It doesn’t make any sense for the US to have bombed a hospital. It must have been a mistake. It doesn’t look good at all to be changing the story every day and doing another internal investigation. The world is getting tired of US doing things like that.

    • #3 by Richard Warnick on October 8, 2015 - 8:54 am

      In defense of the US military, the “fog of war” gets in the way during combat operations (especially in the middle of the night). OTOH the hospital attack came from an AC-130 which is a relatively slow, low-flying plane that uses direct fire. The crew must have had eyes on the target.

  3. #4 by Richard Warnick on October 8, 2015 - 8:50 am

    Obama Issues Rare Apology Over Bombing of Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Afghanistan

    But five days after an American AC-130 gunship devastated the medical facility, Mr. Obama’s personal expression of regret in a telephone call from the Oval Office appeared to do little to satisfy the leader of the doctors group, who issued a terse statement saying the president’s apology had been “received.”

    Dr. Joanne Liu, the international president of Doctors Without Borders, repeated her demand for an independent investigation led by the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission to “establish what happened in Kunduz, how it happened, and why it happened.”

  4. #5 by Richard Warnick on October 13, 2015 - 4:06 pm

    An exclusive first look at the horrific aftermath of the U.S. attack in northern Afghanistan.

  5. #6 by Richard Warnick on October 13, 2015 - 4:21 pm

    Doctors Without Borders calls for an independent investigation by the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission.

  6. #7 by Richard Warnick on October 19, 2015 - 11:34 am

    Crew of AC-130 Gunship Questioned Legality of Orders Before Hospital Strike

    NBC News is reporting that the crew of the AC-130 gunship that carried out the strike is heard questioning the legality of the orders to attack the hospital on cockpit recordings.

    • #8 by Larry Bergan on October 20, 2015 - 2:52 pm

      That’s not good news. I wonder if Obama is just finding out about this.

  7. #9 by Richard Warnick on October 26, 2015 - 12:28 pm

    The story of the hospital attack keeps changing. Now it appears that the airstrike was called in by U.S. Green Berets who knew it was a functioning hospital.

    Unit That Called In Kunduz Airstrike Knew Hospital Was Functioning, Believed It Was Overrun By Taliban

    Definitely a war crime. What are we going to do about it?

  8. #11 by Richard Warnick on November 7, 2015 - 2:58 pm

    The Destruction Of A Doctors Without Borders’ Hospital By American Forces, In Two Devastating Maps

    “Some public reports are circulating that the attack on our hospital could be justified because we were treating Taliban,” [Christopher Stokes, MSF general director] said. “Wounded combatants are patients under international law, and must be free from attack and treated without discrimination. Medical staff should never be punished or attacked for providing treatment to wounded combatants.”

  9. #12 by Richard Warnick on December 9, 2015 - 12:53 pm

    Servicemen Contradict Military’s Account Of Attack On MSF Hospital In Afghanistan

    Two servicemen have told Congress that American special forces called in an air strike on a hospital in Afghanistan because they believed the Taliban were using it as a command center.

    …The military’s official account, a summary of which was disclosed on Nov. 25 by the commanding U.S. general in Afghanistan, says the soldiers and airmen intended the air strike to hit a different building a half mile away — an Afghan intelligence facility said to be occupied by the Taliban.

  10. #13 by Richard Warnick on April 29, 2016 - 2:21 pm

    Pentagon disciplines about 16 in hospital strike in Afghanistan

    WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has disciplined about 16 military personnel, including a general officer, for their role in last year’s mistaken airstrike on a hospital in Afghanistan that killed 42 people, a senior defense official said Thursday.

    The punishments are considered administrative, said the official, who asked not to be named since the Pentagon has not formally announced the action. The action does not include courts-martial, which are for more serious criminal charges, the official said.

    Apparently the U.S. Army is determined to ignore the evidence that the hospital was targeted deliberately.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: