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Medical charity mourns staff killed in Afghan air strikes

'Respect health facilities and medical staff,' says Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) charity president

The medical charity that runs an Afghanistan hospital where 12 of its staff were killed in bombing raids by Nato forces is demanding an independent inquiry into the attack.

Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has not yet revealed whether nurses were among those who died following United States-led coalition air strikes against Taleban fighters in the city of Kunduz on Saturday (October 3).

As well as those killed, MSF claims a further 19 members of staff were injured and it had responded by withdrawing the majority of those who remained from the area. However, some were treating the wounded at other clinics.

Nurse Lajos Zoltan Jecs described the horror of the attacks.

He told the Independent newspaper:  '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.'

Calling the attacks ‘a grave violation of international humanitarian law’ MSF president Meinie Nicolai offered sincere condolences to the families of the victims and said: ‘We cannot accept that this horrific loss of life will simply be dismissed as "collateral damage".

'Besides resulting in the deaths of our colleagues and patients, this attack has cut off access to urgent trauma care for the population in Kunduz at a time when its services are most needed.

‘Once again, we call on all warring parties to respect civilians, health facilities, and medical staff.’

The charity insists the military were aware of the location of the hospital and have denied reports Taleban forces were hiding inside.

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