The death toll from U.S. “sustained bombing” of a trauma center in Kunduz, Afghanistan has risen to 22. The attack constitutes a grave violation of International Humanitarian Law, charge officials of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF). “The [U.S. government] description of the attack keeps changing – from collateral damage, to a tragic incident, to now attempting to pass responsibility to the Afghanistan government.” Twelve MSF staff members and at least 10 patients, including three children, were killed. Another 37 people were injured.
Doctors Without Borders reports that MSF “frantically phoned” NATO and Washington DC, as bombs rained on the hospital for “nearly an hour.” MSF demands a fully transparent and independent international investigation. Loss of the medical facility worsens the growing humanitarian crisis for the thousands of civilian residents trapped in Kunduz.
There can be no justification for destruction of a fully functioning hospital where the need for medical treatment is desperate. The MSF’s facility was the only one of its kind in the north-eastern region of Afghanistan. The exact location of the hospital had been communicated to all parties engaged in battle. “No longer is it being depicted as some terrible accident of a wayward bomb” observed Journalist Glenn Greenwald this morning. “Instead, the predominant narrative from U.S. sources and their Afghan allies is that this attack was justified because the Taliban were using it as a base.” This excuse contradicts reports from the field. “Not a single member of our staff reported any fighting inside #Kunduz hospital compound prior to the airstrikes” tweeted MSF International.
Bombs don’t discriminate. It is no “accident” that our government elects collective punishment to hold entire populations hostage to U.S. interests. The tragic air strike on a hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz this weekend was no isolated incident, but part and parcel of a deliberate military policy to terrorize states that challenge U.S. hegemony. #BlackLivesMatter Activist Shaun King called the attack in Kunduz “disgusting.” Others in the movement to stop state terror at home make the connection between the ultimate war crime abroad — invasion of a sovereign nation that poses no imminent threat — and an epidemic of murder by police across the U.S.