Govt statements on Kunduz hospital attack irk MSF
KABUL (Pajhwok): Médecins Sans Frontières(MSF) on Monday took strong exception to statements from some Afghan officials justifying the attack on its hospital in Kunduz province.
"These statements imply Afghan and US forces decided to raze to the ground a fully functioning hospital because they claim Taliban were present there,” the MSF general director said.
In a press release, Christopher Stokes said such statements amounted to an admission of a war crime, contradicting the initial attempts of the US to downplay the attack as 'collateral damage'.
“There can be no justification for this abhorrent attack that resulted in the deaths of our staff as they worked and patients as they lay in their beds,” MSF said, reiterating its demand for an independent international investigation.
Meanwhile, the organisation has set up a hotline for missing hospital staff, encouraging them to call it urgently and say whether they were safe, where they were and if they require medical attention.
The hotline is only for MSF staff and their families to provide information. “We are asking callers to confirm the staff member’s name, their father’s name and their position at the MSF Kunduz hospital.”
Meanwhile, the Norwegian Refugees Council (NRC) also strongly condemned the aerial bombing of the MSF hospital, saying it was deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation in Kunduz and urged both sides of the conflict to uphold their responsibilities under international law to ensure that civilians are protected. The ongoing conflict has resulted in a dire humanitarian situation in Kunduz, with humanitarian actors unable to provide much-needed assistance to families, NRC said in a statement.
“Food, water and basic services are very limited in Kunduz city and there is an immediate need to assist people trapped inside their homes. However it is very difficult for NRC and other humanitarian actors to provide assistance due to continued conflict in and around Kunduz,” said Ms. Qurat Sadozai, NRC Country Director in Afghanistan.
NRC, one of the leading humanitarian NGOs in Kunduz, has been forced to temporarily halt operations out of consideration for the safety of our staff. NRC has evacuated 31 staff members from the city. Our office, like other NGOs in Kunduz has been looted but we have so far not been able to fully assess the damage or loss of assets.
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