Questions remain over Afghan hospital attack says Médecins Sans Frontières
Kunduz hospital's own investigation reveals full horror of American airstrikes.
The organisation running a hospital in Afghanistan destroyed by United States-led airstrikes has today (November 5) published details of its own investigation into the attack.
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) says questions remain unanswered over why the strikes in Kunduz on October 3 – which killed 13 staff, ten patients and left seven bodies yet to be identified – were authorised.
Following evidence from nurses and doctors at the 140-bed trauma centre, as well as detailed examination of telephone records and photographs, MSF starkly lays out the version of events as it sees them.
The report describes harrowing scenes including staff in the admin building being woken by a nurse covered in blood and debris with his left arm hanging from a small piece of skin tissue after a traumatic amputation caused by the first wave of blasts.
Another member of staff was decapitated by flying shrapnel while doctors and patients were shot at from the air as they attempted to flee to safety.
MSF reiterates its insistence that no armed combatants were on site at the time and no fighting was taking place on or near hospital grounds.
It admits that 20 of the patients being treated on the night of the attack were members of the Taliban, but insists an agreement had been reached with parties on both sides of the conflict to respect its neutrality.
MSF general director Christopher Stokes 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.
‘Some public reports are circulating that the attack on our hospital could be justified because we were treating Taliban members.
‘Wounded combatants are patients under international law. Medical staff should never be punished or attacked for providing treatment to wounded combatants.’
MSF is calling for urgent and unambiguous recognition of the rules under which hospitals in conflict zones are run.
US authorities and President Barack Obama have all apologised for the attacks.