Afghanistan Hospital: 19 killed, 37 wounded in coalition airstrike
Afghanistan Hospital: 19 killed, 37 wounded in coalition airstrike

Afghanistan Hospital: 19 killed, 37 wounded in ‘coalition airstrike’

Afghanistan — Doctors Without Borders says the death toll from the bombing of a hospital compound in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz has risen to 37, including three children killed.

The Afghan military has been fighting to retake Kunduz since Monday, the Associated Press reports, when Taliban fighters overran the city. The U.S. military confirmed the 2:15 a.m. airstrike—the 12th in the area since Tuesday—in a statement. A spokesman, U.S. Army Col. Brian Tribus, said the strike “may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility.”

Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontiers) said the trauma center, where 105 patients were being treated and more than 80 international and Afghan staff were employed, “was hit several times during sustained bombing and was very badly damaged.”

A spokesman for the Interior Ministry, Sediq Sediqqi, said at a press conference that 10 to 15 “terrorists” had been using the hospital as a hiding spot: “All of the terrorists were killed but we also lost doctors.” A Kunduz police spokesman, Sayed Sarwar Hussaini, also told the New York Times that Taliban fighters were using the hospital as a firing position.

However, two hospital employees who survived the bombing disputed this account, saying that not only were there no Taliban fighters inside the hospital but that there had been no fighting nearby. According to the Times, the hospital’s policy of treating wounded from all sides of the conflict regardless of affiliation has been a consistent source of tension with Afghan security forces.

The Times reports that, according to the United Nations, 19,368 civilians have been killed in the fighting in Afghanistan since 2009, and nearly 33,300 have been wounded.


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