Evidence Mounts that US Military Knew They Were Bombing Active Hospital

The Associated Press provided new evidence Monday that the U.S. military knew that the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan was an active medical facility before they bombed it, bolstering the aid agency’s charge that the attack—which killed at least 30 people—amounted to a war crime.

“A day before an American AC130 gunship attacked the hospital, a senior officer in the Green Beret unit wrote in a report that U.S. forces had discussed the hospital with the country director of the medical charity group, presumably in Kabul, according to two people who have seen the document,” reports journalist Ken Dilanian.

In addition,  MSF spokesperson Tim Shenk told the AP that in the days leading up to the bombing, a U.S. official asked the aid agency whether their Kunduz hospital “had a large group of Taliban fighters in it.” According to Shenk, the group “replied that this was not the case. We also stated that we were very clear with both sides to the conflict about the need to respect medical structures.”

“Taken together, the revelations add to the growing possibility that U.S. forces destroyed what they knew was a functioning hospital, which would be a violation of the international rules of war,” notes Dilanian.

MSF executive director Jason Cone argued in a strongly-worded op-ed published Friday in the New York Times: “Assertions that armed Taliban combatants were on the grounds of our hospital have been discredited, both in this newspaper and elsewhere. Neither our staff members nor Kunduz residents reported seeing armed combatants or any fighting within the hospital compound before the airstrikes.”

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