The bombing of a hospital in Afghanistan by Coalition Forces was “tragic, inexcusable and possibly even criminal” according to a statement by Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) reports that 12 medical staff and 7 patients including 3 children were killed by the strikes, possibly carried out by US aircraft confirmed to be operating in the area. The death toll could yet rise as many of the buildings 200 occupants are still unaccounted for.
#MSF had informed all parties to the conflict, incl in Kabul and Washington, of precise location (GPS Coordinates) of MSF facility in Kunduz
— Doctors w/o Borders (@MSF_USA) October 3, 2015
MSF state that both the US and Afghan air force were informed of the GPS coordinates of the hospital several times before the airstrikes commenced.
An unnamed MSF official has also stated a call was made to US officials immediately after the first attack, although air strikes continued for a further 50 minutes at approximately 15 minute intervals.
In response, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the incident is “deeply saddening”. A press release by the US Military stated that action in the area “may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility”.
President of MSF Meinie Nicolai posted a statement online condemning the attack:
“This attack is abhorrent and a grave violation of International Humanitarian Law, We demand total transparency from Coalition forces. We cannot accept that this horrific loss of life will simply be dismissed as ‘collateral damage’.”
Other humanitarian organisations including the International Committee for the Red Cross have also condemned the attack as a serious breach of international humanitarian law.
— ICRC (@ICRC) October 3, 2015