As It Happens

Doctors Without Borders insists deadly U.S. attack on Afghanistan hospital was no mistake

The medical charity MSF says the U.S. military's attack on its hospital in Kunduz, Aghanistan, earlier this month was no mistake and that only a truly independent investigation will reveal the truth.
MSF's international president Dr. Joanne Liu / Kunduz hospital destruction (MSF / Andrew Quilty, Foreign Policy)

Doctors Without Borders, the aid group, known by its French language acronym MSF ( Médecins Sans Frontières) continues to insist the attack on its hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, was not a mistake. Dr. Joanne Liu, MSF's international president, also says only an independent investigation will reveal the truth.

MSF's hospital and trauma centre in Kunduz was hit repeatedly by U.S. airstrikes on October 3, killing at least 22 patients and hospital staff.

Shortly after the attack, U.S. President Barack Obama called Dr. Joanne Liu and apologized for the airstrikes, which were carried out by an AC-130 U.S. military gunship.

An AC-130 U.S. military gunship, like the one that hit MSF's hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, on Oct. 3rd, 2015 (Senior Airman Julianne Showalter/U.S. Air Force)

Dr. Liu tells As It Happens host Carol Off, "President Obama conveyed his apologies for what happened, has taken responsibility for it, and has committed to find out through an investigation what really happened. Our take on this is that for an investigation to be credible, it needs to come from an independent investigation."

MSF is hoping the U.S. and Afghanistan will agree to allow the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission (IHFFC) to conduct an independent investigation. The IHFFC has said it will investigate the attack, but that it needs the U.S. and Afghanistan to agree.

Still, Dr. Liu says the world may never know what really happened at the hospital. She worries that U.S. military officials may have disrupted evidence useful to an investigation, after it was revealed a U.S. military tank recently forced its way into what remains of the hospital.

A room in the MSF's destroyed hospital in Kunduz (Andrew Quilty, Foreign Policy)

The Pentagon has since admitted its military did forcibly enter the site last week. The Pentagon says it should not have done so, and that it will repair the gate its vehicle broke as it entered the compound.

But Dr. Liu says this is about a lot more than a broken gate. She says the U.S. military needs to keep the MSF properly informed and needs to treat the MSF with respect.


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