Médecins Sans Frontières staff killed after suspected United States airstrike on Afghan

United States forces in Afghanistan said they conducted an airstrike in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz at 2.15am local time. At least 60 people are known to have died and 400 wounded in recent fighting.


Main patients and hospitals remain unaccounted for.

“They are killed, all of the terrorists were killed, but we also lost doctors”, ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqi said.

After staff at the hospital became aware of the aerial bombardment in the early hours of Saturday morning, USA and Afghan military officials were again informed, MSF said.

Kunduz resident Mirza Langhmani has counted 30 to 35 airstrikes in the area over the past five days. Sporadic battles were still being fought Friday as a combined force of Afghan army and police sought to eliminate pockets of insurgents.

Specifically, the military is investigating whether a U.S. AC-130 gunship – which was in the area firing on Taliban positions to defend US special operations troops there – is responsible, a USA military official said on condition of anonymity.

“The medical facility was hit several times”.

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 aid group said 105 patients and caretakers were at the hospital, along with 80 staff members. The takeover of Kunduz was reportedly run by one of Mansoor’s own appointees, Mullah Abdul Salam, which could help shore up his legitimacy.

The charity said Washington and Kabul had been informed of the Global Positioning System coordinates of the hospital on many occasions prior to the bombing, including most recently on September 29.

An airstrike damaged much of the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz.

The worldwide charity strongly condemned the the 30-minute bombing which took place at 2.10am (2140 GMT).

Government forces moved in early Thursday, backed by US airstrikes, and have reclaimed control over much of the city.

Amnesty worldwide and the U.N.’s representative in Afghanistan, Nicholas Haysom, have also cited reports of extrajudicial killings and kidnappings.

“This is an appalling tragedy”, said Jean-Nicolas Marti, who is the ICRC head in Afghanistan. “Such attacks against health workers and facilities undermine the capacity of humanitarian organizations to assist the Afghan people at a time when they most urgently need it”.

In a separate statement, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul said it “mourns for the individuals and families affected by the tragic incident”.

MSF doctors treat all people according to their medical needs and do not make distinctions based on a patient’s ethnicity, religious beliefs or political affiliation.

Concerns are now mounting that the Taliban’s success in Kunduz, even if temporary, was merely the opening gambit in a new, bolder strategy.

“We couldn’t save our doctors, our nurses, our cleaners, our friends”. “I had to get permission from Taliban insurgents blocking several parts of the city, desperately pleading with them to let me go to the hospital as my neighbour had been killed”.


US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces ended their combat mission in Afghanistan last December, though a 13,000-strong residual force remains for training and counter-terrorism operations.

Medecins Sans Frontieres hospital burning in Kunduz in Afghanistan