Médecins Sans Frontières yesterday released an internal review into the facts surrounding the US-led attacks into its Kunduz hospital which killed 12 charity staff.
The review concludes that the hospital was fully functioning at the time of the attacks, with surgeries ongoing, and that the GPS coordinates provided to all armed groups were accurate, with MSF teams in Kabul and New York making the “relevant contacts to alert the parties of to the conflict of the air strikes”.
It also concluded that that ‘no weapon’ policies were being implemented and respected, and that the charity had full control of the hospital at the time of the airstrike, with no armed combatants within the hospital compound or fighting in the direct vicinity.
Dr Joanne Liu, MSF international president, said: “Hospitals have protected status under the rules of war. And yet in the early hours of 3 October, the MSF hospital in Kunduz came under relentless and brutal aerial attack by US forces. Patients burned in their beds, medical staff were decapitated and lost limbs, and others were shot by the circling AC- 130 gunship while fleeing the burning building. At least 30 MSF staff and patients were killed.”
MSF has said that although it was treating patients from both sides, it “was not a ‘Taliban Base’”.
The charity has reiterated its call for an independent investigation by the International Humanitarian Fact Finding Commission into the attacks on the hospital. It said that although the IHFFC has made itself available for an investigation, the United States and Afghan governments have yet to consent to the request.
Liu said: “Consenting to the IHFFC is a critical step in demonstrating a commitment to the Geneva Conventions. Today, we are handing over this internal report to both the public and the IHFFC.
“The attack on our hospital in Kunduz destroyed our ability to treat patients at a time when we were needed the most. We need a clear commitment that the act of providing medical care will never make us a target. We need to know whether the rules of war still apply.”
Christopher Stokes, MSF general director, said: “The view from inside the hospital is that this attack was conducted with a purpose to kill and destroy.
“But we don’t know why. We don’t have the view from the cockpit, nor what happened within the US and Afghan military chains of command.”