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Kunduz hospital bombing death toll climbs to 30

By Mansoor Faizy-KABUL:  Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF) said that the number of people killed in Kunduz hospital bombing has reached 30.  The US forces in an airstrike pounded MSF hospital in Kunduz on October 3.

As many as 10 patients and 13 staffers were identified out of the debris of the hospital whereas seven defaced bodies couldn’t be identified. MSF in its press statement issued to Afghanistan Times said one MSF staff member and two patients who were missing and presumed dead might be among the seven disfigured bodies, which is why it was hard to identify if the staff members were among them. Forensic examinations have not yet been concluded so far”, the statement added. It also added that these unfortunately may not be final numbers.

The statement added that beyond the death toll, the destruction of MSF’s 94-bed trauma center would have a huge implication on access to surgical care for hundreds of thousands of people.

“This hospital was the only facility of its kind in northeastern Afghanistan, with more than 400 staff able to provide high quality surgical, post-operative and rehabilitation care,” the statement said. “Last year 22,000 patients received medical treatment at the hospital and more than 5900 surgeries were carried out,” the statement added. “Until MSF understands what happened on the night of the attack and has strong assurances that it cannot happen again, the Kunduz trauma center cannot be reopened,” MSF warned.

Though a small MSF team has returned to Kunduz to assess the damages, and ensure appropriate cooperation with ongoing investigations, however it will take a bit longer to fully resume the services.

It is worth mentioning that US airstrike hit the hospital when Afghan security forces battled to retake Kunduz city from Taliban insurgents who overran the city on September 28.

The Afghan government including US and NATO have already started investigation that why the hospital was bombarded. US President Barack Obama has apologized over the tragedy and extended his condolence message to the bereaved families. But the commander of the US forces in Afghanistan, Gen. John F. Campbell termed hospital bombing as a mistake. Military investigators have not yet reached any final conclusions about how Kunduz hospital tragedy occurred.  Pentagon has announced it will pay compensation to the families of those killed and injured in MSF hospital bombing. Pentagon acknowledged the US and Afghan troops had driven a military vehicle through a locked gate to the hospital, forcing entry to the site. US official said that the troops wanted to inspect damages, and had not known that MSF staffer were there.

Human right group also criticized bombing at the MSF hospital, and pointed out that targeting a medical facility on purpose is a crime.

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