MSF Publishes Preliminary Review on Kunduz Airstrike

On November 5, 2015 Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) published a preliminary review in regards to the attack to the Kunduz Trauma Centre of October 3, 2015.

In the document, based on accounts of on-the-ground witnesses, MSF reports that the staff had confirmed the hospital coordinates with both the US Department of Defense, and Afghan representatives only days before the attack.

The Kunduz area had been subjected to heavy fighting between Afghan and Taliban forces starting September 28, 2015 – when Talibans took over the area.

At the time of the attack, there were 105 patients present – three or four government combatants, and 20 Taliban fighters – plus an additional 150 between MSF national and international members of staff, and a International Committee of the Red Cross representative.

The salient points of the review – which is but an initial one – are as follow:

– Confirmation of receipt [of coordinates] was received from both the US Department of Defense and US army representatives, both of whom assured us that the coordinates had been passed on to the appropriate parties.

– On Friday [October 2, 2015] two MSF flags were placed on the roof of the hospital, in addition to the existing flag that was being flown at the entrance to the Trauma Centre.

– Those who were awake after 10pm report having noticed how calm the night was in comparison to the intense fighting of the previous days.

– The bombing lasted approximately one hour, starting around 2AM and finishing at 3-3:15AM. The first distress call was made at 2:19AM.

– Two operating theatres in use at the time of the strike: MSF staff ran out, patients killed. ICU – immobile patients, including 2 children – was hit first: all patients and attending staff died, either in the strike or the following fire.

– A member of staff, badly injured, was attended to on a desk in the administrative offices where he later died. Another was beheaded by shrapnel caused by the bombings.

– MSF staff who have survived the airstrikes have stated they could hear a noise, allegedly a propeller plane, circling over the hospital throughout the attack.

– Several witnesses report of shots being fired at the staff, possibly from the plane: “Some accounts mention shooting that appears to follow the movement of people on the run.”

MSF has been calling for an independent report on the accident, and has launched an online petition urging US President Barack Obama to consent to the investigation.


Featured Image by Stephen Downes via Flickr

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Born and raised in Turin, I've been living in London for the past – nearly – four years. Journalism gruaduate seeking adventure, and work experience here and there. Can be found pretty much everywhere on social media. Check out About Me page to learn more.

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