Doctors Without Borders calls US airstrike a ‘war crime’

Doctors Without Borders, also known as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), is demanding a full investigation into the details surrounding a suspected U.S. led airstrike that left 22 people dead at an Afghan hospital in the strategic city of Kunduz.

The international humanitarian organization is now calling for an independent probe to determine whether the act be considered a ‘war crime.’

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter described the current situation as “confused and complicated,” while announcing an internal inquiry into the events, which the MSF General Director Christopher Stokes opined to be “wholly insufficient.”

“Under the clear presumption that a war crime has been committed, MSF demands that a full and transparent investigation into the event be conducted by an independent international body,” Stokes said.

Prior to Saturday’s strike, the northern Afghan city had been retaken by the Taliban in the most significant advance by the terrorist group since 2001.

While The Pentagon acknowledges that there were security forces in the area at this time, discrepancies arise in regard to whether the hospital itself was under fire.

“We reiterate that the main hospital building, where medical personnel were caring for patients, was repeatedly and very precisely hit during each aerial raid, while the rest of the compound was left mostly untouched,” she continued.

A spokesman for American forces in Afghanistan offered that an airstrike in the surrounding area, “may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility.”

President Obama said he is expecting a full accounting of the incident, offering condolences but not going so far as an apology.

Of those who lost their lives, MSF reports that 10 were patients, including three children, and the remaining 12 were staff members.

More information will be available in the coming days as the U.S. and Afghan coalition start their preliminary investigation into the matter.

 

[Reuters] [ABC News] [Chicago Tribune] [Photo courtesy MSF/EPA]