U.S. air strikes ‘may have’ hit a MSF hospital

Doctors Without Borders did not comment on the identities of the 30 missing people, but said all of its worldwide staffers were alive and accounted for. They said the death toll could rise further.

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At the aid group’s bombed-out hospital, one wall of a building had collapsed, scattering fragments of glass and wooden door frames, and three rooms were ablaze, said Saad Mukhtar, director of public health in Kunduz.

The USA special operations troops were in the area advising Afghan forces, the military official speaking anonymously said. “Fighting is continuing between Afghan security forces and the Taliban”, he said. It’s not clear whether patients or families may also have been injured or killed in the strike.

It “may have” been hit U.S. air strikes a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces spokesman said.

Tibus said the strike “may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility” and that the incident was under investigation.

US Army spokesperson Colonel Brian Tribus said the incident was “under investigation”.

MSF relies only on private funding for its work in Afghanistan and does not accept money from any government.

MSF released this photo showing surgeons working in an undamaged part of the hospital in Kunduz after the attack.

An airstrike damaged much of the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz. The USA has launched 12 airstrikes in Kunduz since the Taliban offensive started.

The global Committee of the Red Cross condemned the bombing of the hospital.

Journalists including an AFP photographer were invited to travel with Afghan troops into the centre of Kunduz on Thursday, but after a long wait at a base near the city they were told they had to return to Kabul.

On Saturday morning, Doctors Without Borders circulated photographs showing the aftermath of the bombing.

But the USA military said there were no reports of enemy fire at the time.

The statement added that the aerial assault continued for more than half an hour after USA and Afghan military officials in Kabul and Washington were first informed. Water and electricity were cut off, and most businesses shuttered.

Concerns are now mounting that the Taliban’s success in Kunduz, even if temporary, was merely the opening gambit in a new, bolder strategy. Former President Hamid Karzai fell out with his backers in Washington over the number of civilians killed by bombs.

Among the dead was the Afghan head of the hospital, Abdul Sattar, the resident said. The battle encroached on the hospital’s gate.

The charity says it has treated 394 wounded people since the fighting broke out. “It was the only advanced hospital, and it was operating under good, foreign leadership”.

None of its fighters was a patient in the hospital, the militant group said.

Kunduz is facing a humanitarian crisis, with thousands of civilians caught in the crossfire between government forces and Taliban fighters. He said that the bombing had been heavy and that it was possible that more than one bomb had been dropped. “There is also an electricity shortage, a water shortage plus a bread shortage”. He did not say what sort of strike had damaged the compound.

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Afghanistan said it reclaimed most of the city Thursday in a big operation backed by US airstrikes.

Afghan Forces Regroup Outside Kunduz After Taliban Takeover