Mon, Oct 26, 2015 - Page 5 News List

Afghan bombing death toll rises

QUESTIONS:MSF is demanding that an inquiry into the airstrikes that caused the closure of a hospital in Kunduz be independent, as they said the attack was planned

AP, KABUL

The number of people killed when US forces bombed a trauma hospital in northern Afghanistan earlier this month has risen to 30, the international medical charity Doctors Without Borders, which ran the clinic, said yesterday.

The death toll includes “10 known patients, 13 known staff and seven unrecognizable bodies,” the organization said in a statement. The clinic in Kunduz was bombed by US forces on Oct. 3.

The charity — also known by its French acronym MSF — said that the corpses were found in the debris of the destroyed hospital buildings and “have not been identified.” They could include one staffer and two patients still missing and presumed dead, it said.

The bombing happened as Afghan forces with US air support battled to retake Kunduz from Taliban fighters who overran the city on Sept. 28 and held it for three days.

Two military inquiries and an Afghan government probe are investigating why the hospital was bombed.

The head of US forces in Afghanistan, General John Campbell, said that the hospital was bombed by mistake after Afghan forces requested an air strike. US President Barack Obama has apologized.

MSF has demanded an independent inquiry into the incident, saying the hospital was deliberately bombed numerous times over the course of an hour after 2am on Oct. 3.

The main building was destroyed and the hospital has been shut down. MSF has said it is unsure when it can resume operations in Kunduz.

On Saturday, NATO said it was continuing its inquiry into the bombing and had appointed three US military officers from outside the chain of command to handle the investigation to ensure impartiality.

Campbell had appointed US Army Major General William Hickman and two brigadier generals to continue the investigation begun by Brigadier General Richard Kim, NATO said in a statement.

The results of the NATO investigation had been expected last week, but appear to have been held up by difficulties in identifying the remains of bodies in the hospital.

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