3 Oct 2015

Afghanistan hospital hit by air strikes

Frantic staff from Medecins Sans Frontiers say they phoned Nato officials in Washington and Kabul for a full hour – as bombs rained down on their hospital in Afghanistan.

Medicin San Frontiere say they “frantically phoned Nato and Washington as bombs rained down onto the hospital for nearly an hour”.

Medical staff desperately tried to help patients and their own colleagues but at least nine of their staff and seven patients were killed – three of them children and many are still unaccounted for. Overall the charity says at least 19 people have been killed.

The charity says bombing began at 2.10am and their staff called Kabul at 2.19 and then Washington a few minutes later. The bombing continued until 3.13am.

The head of US forces in Afghanistan has reportedly apologised to the country’s president about the incident. President Ghani’s office said Army General John Campbell had contacted them by telephone.

Earlier a US spokesman said that a Kunduz air strike may “have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility,” The incident is under investigation they say.

Fighting has raged around the northern provincial capital of Kunduz as government forces backed by American air power seek to drive out Taliban militants who seized the city six days ago in the biggest victory of their nearly 14-year insurgency.

The U.S. military unleashed twelve air strikes on the city this week, most on the city’s outskirts. The overnight strike on the hospital was only the second in a central area, the military said.