‘Afghan hospital bombing was deliberate, not a mistake’


A Doctors Without Borders worker, injured by the Uniited States air force attack on the Kunduz hospital in Afghanistan

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

“Signals for targeted attack on Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz

Today, 20:21

President Obama has apologized to Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) for the attack on the hospital in Kunduz. Yesterday United States General Campbell already said that the attack was a mistake.

Anonymous sources from around ​​the general reported today to the New York Times that he was also convinced that the Americans did not follow their own guidelines.

Although the Americans have largely withdrawn from Afghanistan, they are still present with combat aircraft and 10,000 troops. Only in three cases the US Americans may carry out air strikes: there must be intervention to eliminate terrorists, or to protect United States troops or to assist the Afghan army and prevent land being lost.

NOS correspondent Arjen van der Horst says that according to General Campbell in the bombing of the MSF clinic not any of these three conditions was met. Van der Horst: “The picture emerges of a bombardment that deliberately targeted this hospital. had There are more and more puzzle pieces confirming this.”

The report that the MSF clinic was under fire for thirty minutes and was the target of several waves of attacks, according to Van der Horst has not been contradicted by the Pentagon. The hospital was also the only building in the area which was hit.

Puzzle pieces

One of the other pieces of the puzzle is the fact that the Americans used the so-called AC-130 aircraft; because of its firepower it is sometimes called a flying tank. Van der Horst: “The plane is flying pretty low, operates always at night and therefore always support is needed on the ground. Units designating a target and that was the case in Kunduz. That information came from the Afghan army. One wonders whether the Americans relied blindly on their coordinates.”

The Afghan government have called the attack justified because the Taliban supposedly used the hospital for warfare. This is strongly denied by MSF, but they do point out that the Afghans actually admit that the hospital was a target. According to Van der Horst, this is further evidence that it was not a mistake, not collateral damage.

As a possible motive for the attack he names the friction that exists between the charity and the Afghan government. MSF is a neutral organization and treats injuries of all warring parties, including Taliban fighters. The Afghan army had a bone to pick with MSF. In June the military had already invaded the hospital to arrest wounded Taliban fighters.

Van der Horst: “Over the past fourteen years, there have often been innocent Afghan casualties, but their voices are rarely heard, and when they are heard, then they are bulldozed by statements from the Pentagon which are adopted uncritically by the US American media. This time the victim is a western organization with eloquent spokespersons, an organization for which also in the USA respect exists. They do get listened to.”

THE international Red Cross joined Doctors Without Borders (MSF) yesterday in calling for an investigation of last week’s US bombing of a hospital in northern Afghanistan: here.

US officials seek to contain fallout from hospital massacre in Afghanistan: here.

Afghan hospital bombed, Doctors Without Borders distrusts Pentagon investigation


This Reuters video says about itself:

MSF says Kunduz hospital bombing could be a ‘war crime

6 October 2015

Aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres dismisses claims that an air strike on an Afghan hospital was targeting militant fighters. Rough cut (no reporter narration).

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Suspicious MSF/Doctors Without Borders demands independent investigation about Kunduz

Today, 13:36

MSF demands an independent investigation into the bombing of a hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz. The organization has no faith in the investigations which the United States, NATO and Afghanistan have announced.

When the bombardment happened last Saturday, 22 people were killed. US warplanes targeted the clinic. Initially it was said that this occurred at the request of the Afghan government, but now the US has said that the US military itself commanded this. General Campbell has acknowledged that the attack was a mistake.

Special commission

MSF calls the attack a war crime and wants a special committee to do the fact-finding. This committee, the IHFFC, was established in 1991 to investigate serious violations of international law and derives from the Geneva Conventions. Up to now, the committee has never been deployed.

The founding treaty of the committee is signed by 76 countries. The United States and Afghanistan are not amongst them. The committee can only get to work if all parties agree.

See also here.

Doctors Without Borders: we received no advance warning of US airstrike. Such action would be a violation of the US Defense Department’s own manual governing the rules of war, as President Obama calls MSF president to apologize: here.

The Pentagon’s Law of War Manual: here.

Pentagon pretexts on Afghan hospital bombing rejected by Doctors Without Borders


This BBC video says about itself:

5 October 2015

Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has called for an independent investigation of an air strike on its hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan.

MSF said it is “disgusted” by Afghan government statements justifying the violence, calling it an “admission of a war crime“.

MSF said the statement implies US and Afghan forces decided to bomb the hospital because of claims Taliban members were inside. Vickie Hawkins, from MSF UK, insisted that there were no members of the Taliban operating from inside the hospital.

From Doctors Without Borders:

MSF Response to Pentagon Claim That Afghan Forces Called For Kunduz Airstrike

October 05, 2015

“Today the US government has admitted that it was their airstrike that hit our hospital in Kunduz and killed 22 patients and MSF staff. Their description of the attack keeps changing—from collateral damage, to a tragic incident, to now attempting to pass responsibility to the Afghanistan government. The reality is the US dropped those bombs. The US hit a huge hospital full of wounded patients and MSF staff. The US military remains responsible for the targets it hits, even though it is part of a coalition. There can be no justification for this horrible attack. With such constant discrepancies in the US and Afghan accounts of what happened, the need for a full transparent independent investigation is ever more critical.”

Christopher Stokes, General Director, Médecins Sans Frontières

Doctors Without Borders airstrike: US alters story for fourth time in four days. Commander of war in Afghanistan tells Senate panel that US forces had called in airstrike at Afghan request – ‘an admission of a war crime’ says MSF chief: here.

See also here.

The massacre of 22 people—12 doctors, nurses and other medical personnel, along with 10 patients, three of them children—in Saturday’s airstrike on the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) medical center in Kunduz, Afghanistan is an appalling war crime: here.

OBAMA CONSIDERING LEAVING TROOPS IN AFGHANISTAN “President Obama is seriously weighing a proposal to keep as many as 5,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond 2016, according to senior U.S. officials, a move that would end his plans to bring U.S. troops home before he leaves office.” [WaPo]

‘NATO Kunduz hospital bombing is a war crime’


This video says about itself:

Kunduz attack may amount to war crime – UN Human Rights chief

4 October 2015

The US military said it launched an attack around the time a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) charity hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz was hit by an airstrike, killing 19 people: staff, patients and children.

The strike may have led to collateral damage to a nearby medical facility,” according to a statement from US Army Colonel Brian Tribus, Spokesman for US Forces in Afghanistan.

UN Human Rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein led a chorus of condemnation.

Read more here.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

MSF/Doctors Without Borders speaks of war crime in Kunduz

Today, 10:28

MSF says that the bombing of a hospital in the Afghan city Kunduz is a war crime. “The Afghan government admits they have okayed this premeditatedly,” says Director Arjen Hehenkamp of MSF in the Netherlands. …

Gates closed

“It is totally unacceptable,” said Hehenkamp. “The Afghan government says there was a deliberate and purposeful bombing of a hospital in the middle of the night because there might maybe have been Taliban fighters.”

According to the organization, the gates of the hospital were all closed, so at the time of the attack only staff and patients were there. “We know for sure that it was not used for combat operations. Because of the heavy fighting, our team spent the past week continually at the compound.”

Hehenkamp recognizes that there may have been wounded Taliban fighters in the hospital, but that should be no reason to attack, he stressed. MSF treats all injuries, whether they are of civilians, Taliban fighters or coalition troops. “It is a violation of the law of war, because people can be sued for this. A hospital is sacred, especially in wartime.”

It was not inaccurate, not accidental or collateral damage, it was very purposeful.
Arjen Hehenkamp

According to Dutch Major General (retired) Frank van Kappen it does not matter whether there were combatants or not. “Even then you should not do it. You can not under international law just throw a bomb on a hospital.” …

Hehenkamp says he has heard other stories from his colleagues. “They attacked very specifically a very specific building in that large area several times, the intensive care unit. That was the only building that was hit. It was not inaccurate, not accidental or collateral damage. It was done quite deliberately.”

MSF demands an independent investigation into the incident, in which 22 people were killed, including twelve Doctors Without Borders workers and three children. …

US silent

MSF has already removed its staff from Kunduz. Thus the only hospital in the city is closed. Patients are brought to hospitals in the region. Because there are thirty seriously wounded people, Hehenkamp expects the death toll will continue to rise.

The United States, which was probably

‘Probably’? Does anyone believe seriously the Taliban have warplanes?

involved in the incident, has said nothing about this, says Hehenkamp. “It is incomprehensible that they do not seek contact in an active way after such a big butchery.”

DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS LEAVES KUNDUZ AFTER DEADLY BOMBING The loss of medical services after an alleged U.S. airstrike, which killed 22 patients and staff, will be catastrophic for a region already lacking in medical support. And hear what a nurse who survived the bombing Saturday has to say about the tragedy. [NYT]

A protracted series of precisely targeted US airstrikes ripped through a Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) medical center in Kunduz, Afghanistan on Saturday, killing at least 22 and wounding at least 37. The dead included 10 patients, including three children, and 12 members of the MSF staff: here.

See also here.

Nato’s bombs fall like confetti, not containing conflict but spreading it, by George Monbiot. Syria, Isis, Iraq … there are no easy solutions. But killing innocent civilians in Afghanistan and elsewhere draws more people into insurgencies: here.

PHOTOS OF THE BOMBED KUNDUZ DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS HOSPITAL Warning: The content is graphic. [Foreign Policy]

The massacre of at least 22 medical personnel and patients, including three children, at the Doctors Without Borders medical center in Kunduz, Afghanistan is a war crime for which the US government and military, including top officials in the Obama administration, are responsible. In the nearly two weeks following the October 3 massacre, details have begun to emerge exploding the campaign of misinformation put out by US military officials: here.

The New York Times peddles excuses for Kunduz hospital slaughter: here.

‘Afghan patients burned in their beds in United States air force attack’, nurse tells


This 3 October 2015 video is called Nineteen dead, dozens missing in air strike on Kunduz hospital.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Afghanistan Kunduz hospital air strike: MSF nurse describes ‘patients burning in their beds’

MSF nurse Lajos Zoltan Jecs was in the hospital during the series of bombing raids – here’s what he saw

Lajos Zoltan Jecs

Sunday 4 October 2015 13:19 BST

Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) nurse Lajos Zoltan Jecs was in the charity’s Kunduz trauma hospital when the facility was struck by a series of aerial bombing raids in the early hours of Saturday morning. He describes his experience.

It was absolutely terrifying.

I was sleeping in our safe room in the hospital. At around 2am I was woken up by the sound of a big explosion nearby. At first I didn’t know what was going on. Over the past week we’d heard bombings and explosions before, but always further away. This one was different – close and loud.

At first there was confusion, and dust settling. As we were trying to work out what was happening, there was more bombing.

After 20 or 30 minutes, I heard someone calling my name. It was one of the Emergency Room nurses. He staggered in with massive trauma to his arm. He was covered in blood, with wounds all over his body.

At that point my brain just couldn’t understand what was happening. For a second I was just stood still, shocked.

He was calling for help. In the safe room, we have a limited supply of basic medical essentials, but there was no morphine to stop his pain. We did what we could.

I don’t know exactly how long, but it was maybe half an hour afterwards that they stopped bombing. I went out with the project coordinator to see what had happened.

What we saw was the hospital destroyed, burning. I don’t know what I felt – just shock again.

We went to look for survivors. A few had already made it to one of the safe rooms. One by one, people started appearing, wounded, including some of our colleagues and caretakers of patients.

We tried to take a look into one of the burning buildings. I cannot describe what was inside. There are no words for how terrible it was. In the Intensive Care Unit six patients were burning in their beds.

We looked for some staff that were supposed to be in the operating theatre. It was awful. A patient there on the operating table, dead, in the middle of the destruction. We couldn’t find our staff. Thankfully we later found that they had run out from the operating theatre and had found a safe place.

Just nearby, we had a look in the inpatient department. Luckily untouched by the bombing. We quickly checked that everyone was OK. And in a safe bunker next door, also everyone inside was OK.

And then back to the office. Full – patients, wounded, crying out, everywhere.

It was crazy. We had to organise a mass casualty plan in the office, seeing which doctors were alive and available to help. We did an urgent surgery for one of our doctors. Unfortunately he died there on the office table. We did our best, but it wasn’t enough.

The whole situation was very hard. We saw our colleagues dying. Our pharmacist – I was just talking to him last night and planning the stocks, and then he died there in our office.

The first moments were just chaos. Enough staff had survived, so we could help all the wounded with treatable wounds. But there were too many that we couldn’t help. Somehow, everything was very clear. We just treated the people that needed treatment, and didn’t make decisions – how could we make decisions in that sort of fear and chaos?

Some of my colleagues were in too much shock, crying and crying. I tried to encourage some of the staff to help, to give them something to concentrate on, to take their minds off the horror. But some were just too shocked to do anything. Seeing adult men, your friends, crying uncontrollably – that is not easy.

I have been working here since May, and I have seen a lot of heavy medical situations. But it is a totally different story when they are your colleagues, your friends.

These are people who had been working hard for months, non-stop for the past week. They had not gone home, they had not seen their families, they had just been working in the hospital to help people… and now they are dead. These people are friends, close friends. I have no words to express this. It is unspeakable.

The hospital, it has been my workplace and home for several months. Yes, it is just a building. But it is so much more than that. It is healthcare for Kunduz. Now it is gone.

What is in my heart since this morning is that this is completely unacceptable. How can this happen? What is the benefit of this? Destroying a hospital and so many lives, for nothing. I cannot find words for this.”

Afghan conflict: MSF demands Kunduz hospital inquiry: here.

United States deathly attack on Afghan hospital condemned


This video says about itself:

Nineteen people killed after Kunduz hospital allegedly bombed by coalition
3 October 2015

The medical charity Doctors Without Borders says 19 people were killed and dozens more injured or missing when its facility in Kunduz, Afghanistan, was bombed on Saturday by possibly the US-led coalition.

‘Possibly’? Who else could have done it? The Taliban don’t have any warplanes.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Afghanistan air strikes: US faces global condemnation after attack on hospital kills 19 people

The airstrikes continued for more than 30 minutes even though military officials had again been informed of the hospital’s location after staff became aware of the attacks

Serina Sandhu

Saturday 3 October 2015 21:35 BST

The United States is facing international condemnation after its airstrikes devastated a hospital in Afghanistan. The attack, an effort to eject Taliban Islamists from the city of Kunduz, killed at least 19 people at the hospital run by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), including 12 staff and three children. It has also emerged that officials in Washington and Kabul had been made aware of the hospital’s location, leading to claims by human rights groups that the strikes could amount to a war crime. A US forces spokesman confirmed the strikes “may have resulted in collateral damage”, although there was no immediate public apology.

More than 100 patients and 80 staff members were at the clinic when it became engulfed in flames in the early hours of 3 October. It was reported that, on top of the fatalities, 40 people were seriously hurt including 19 MSF staff, some of whom were taken to a hospital two hours away in Puli Khumri.

Many people remain unaccounted for and the death toll is expected to rise. The attack was deplored by MSF, which said it had repeatedly told authorities of the hospital’s GPS location.

The airstrikes continued for more than 30 minutes even though military officials in Washington and Nato officials in Kabul had again been informed of the hospital’s location after staff became aware of the attacks.

Colonel Brian Tribus, speaking for the US forces, said: “The strike may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility. This incident is under investigation.” Ash Carter, US Defence Secretary, confirmed the “tragic incident” was being investigated with the Afghan government.

Ashraf Ghani, President of Afghanistan, said in a statement the commander of Nato’s Resolute Support mission had “explained and [apologised] for the attack”. The Kabul mission said it was unaware of the apology.

Meinie Nicolai, MSF’s president, called the attack “abhorrent” and a “grave violation of international humanitarian law”. She said: “We demand total transparency from coalition forces. We cannot accept this horrific loss of life will simply be dismissed as ‘collateral damage’.” …

Nicholas Haysom, the UN special representative in Afghanistan, said: “Hospitals accommodating patients and medical personnel may never be the object of attack, and international humanitarian law also prohibits the use of medical facilities for military purposes.”

Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the UN human rights chief, said the event needed to be independently investigated and the results publicised, adding that a deliberate airstrike on a hospital could be a war crime. The trauma centre was caring for almost 400 people wounded as a result of the violence that followed the insurgent attacks on 28 September.

Speaking to The Independent on Sunday, Horia Mosadiq, Amnesty International’s Afghanistan researcher, said: “Amnesty [believes] the deliberate attack of civilian and civilian targets, hospitals and medical facilities … is in violation of international humanitarian law and [a] deliberate attack may amount to war crimes. Attacking medical facilities, and especially a surgical hospital, could have a grave human cost because this hospital was dealing with a countless number of people, especially in the past few days when the war started in Kunduz.”

Ms Mosadiq added: “We are calling on the Afghan government and others to conduct an independent investigation into this incident and to … bring [those] responsible to justice.”

Jean-Nicolas Marti, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross delegation in Afghanistan, said: “This is an appalling tragedy. Such attacks against health workers and facilities undermine the capacity of humanitarian [organisations] to assist the Afghan people at a time when they most urgently need it.”

United States air force kills five Syrian little girls, other civilians


This grandfather cries at the graves of his five grandchildren killed by United-States led international coalition air strikes on Atmeh, Syria

From Middle East Eye:

Five sisters among 8 civilians killed in US-led strike on Syrian village

Turkey denies its airbase was used for strike on an arms depot in the village of Atmeh, killing five sisters between the ages of 4 and 10

Wednesday 12 August 2015 16:34 UTC

At least 18 people, including several children, were reportedly killed by a US-led coalition airstrike in the northern Syrian village of Atmeh on Tuesday.

The target of the strike was a weapons depot belonging to the Jaish al-Sunna group, which is part of a rebel alliance that also includes the al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, according to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights.

The Observatory’s Rami Abdul Rahman initially said that the strikes killed 10 members of Jaish al-Sunna, in addition to a child. He later told AFP that a total of 18 people were killed.

“Eight of them were civilians, including five children and two women,” he said.

Atmeh is close to a large refugee camp and Abdul Rahman said residential buildings were near the target.

Aid workers on the ground took to social media to say that in addition to five children killed by the strike, four more were believed to be buried under rubble.

One aid worker wrote on Facebook that he had helped a man pull his wife and daughter alive out of the rubble.

“I was amazed that people could come out of that wreckage alive. After that, the other two children were already dead. Four more are still under the ground,” he said.

Hadi al-Abdullah, a Syrian journalist on the ground, interviewed Abu Bishr, the technical supervisor of the depot that was targeted who said six missiles hit the location after sunset.

The five children killed in the attack – Noor, Asia, Aminah, Haya and Fatima Omari – are sisters, aged between 4 and 10 years. Their mother has been hospitalised for her injuries. …

[Local] Idlibi said most of the local anger was directed at Ankara, which has started to allow US warplanes targeting the Islamic State militant group to use the Incirlik air base in southeast Turkey.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry has denied reports that US military planes took off from Incirlik for the strike on Atmeh.

“No manned and unmanned aircrafts using the Incirlik Air Base participated in yesterday’s [Tuesday] air operation carried out by the coalition forces,” said the ministry.

It rejected as “misleading” and “evil-minded” reports in Turkish media that said aircraft returning from the attack flew towards Turkey.

Ahead of the Atmeh strike, the US had claimed that only two civilians have been killed by US-led coalition airstrikes against IS in Iraq and Syria.

But a report released earlier this month by Airwars, a team of independent journalists, found that more than 450 civilians were killed in the air campaign.

Civilian deaths claimed in 71 US-led airstrikes on Isis. Spokesman for US central command says many of the allegations of fatalities have been dismissed or cannot be verified: here.

Eight months ago, on December 28, a warplane from the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State, or ISIS, struck a building in the Syrian town of al-Bab that had been identified as a local headquarters for the militant group. It was just one of over a thousand airstrikes the coalition had launched up to that point. However, this building wasn’t simply a gathering place for militants or a storehouse for weapons. It was also being used as a makeshift prison for local civilians whom ISIS had accused of petty offenses like smoking cigarettes and wearing jeans: here.

HUMAN RIGHTS groups pressed Michael Fallon yesterday to come clean over the number of civilians killed by British air strikes in Syria and Iraq over the past year: here.