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Initial reaction to US military investigation into Kunduz attack

26 Nov 2015

Christopher Stokes, Médecins Sans Frontières General Director.

The US version of events presented today leaves Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) with more questions than answers. It is shocking that an attack can be carried out when US forces have neither eyes on a target nor access to a no-strike list, and have malfunctioning communications systems. It appears that 30 people were killed and hundreds of thousands of people are denied life-saving care in Kunduz simply because the Médecins Sans Frontières hospital was the closest large building to an open field and “roughly matched” a description of an intended target. 

The frightening catalogue of errors outlined today illustrates gross negligence on the part of US forces and violations of the rules of war. The destruction of a protected facility without verifying the target – in this case a functioning hospital full of medical staff and patients -- cannot only be dismissed as individual human error or breaches of the US rules of engagement. Médecins Sans Frontières reiterates its call for an independent and impartial investigation into the attack on our hospital in Kunduz. Investigations of this incident cannot be left solely to parties to the conflict in Afghanistan.