Doctors Without Borders marks 1 month since hospital attack
NEW YORK — One month after a US military strike on its trauma center in Kunduz, Afghanistan, Doctors Without Borders on Tuesday called for an independent investigation into the attack that killed 30 people.
The organization held a rally and moment of silence in Union Square for the victims, and supporters carried signs saying, “Even war has rules.”
Jason Cone, executive director of the organization’s US arm, said the events in the northern Afghan city went beyond the dangers humanitarian workers know they face in conflict zones.
“We knowingly take the risks associated with working in war zones,” he said. “But what happened in Kunduz, the precise targeting, the prolonged destruction of a fully functioning hospital full of patients and health workers, transcended even the bounds of war.”
Accounts over what led to the Oct. 3 strike have varied; in one, US troops requested the airstrike after coming under fire. The Associated Press has also reported that intelligence was being collected on the internationally run medical facility site by American analysts that included indications that Taliban activity was being coordinated from there.
Doctors Without Borders officials deny that there was any Taliban control of the hospital complex or any gunmen.
The US is conducting an investigation into how and why the strike happened.
Doctors Without Borders said that investigation isn’t enough. It wants one from an independent humanitarian commission, which can happen only with the consent of the US and Afghan governments.
Dr. Deane Marchbein, president of the board of directors for the US arm of the group, said the concern wasn’t whether someone obeyed the chain of command but rather how governments view laws dealing with humanitarian issues.
“Honestly, without clarification, it’s hard to feel safe as a humanitarian worker,” she said.
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