Afghanistan Defends Attack on Hospital; US Sends Tank to Break Down Hospital Gate
October 20, 2015
Jason Ditz / Anti-War.com & RT News
Afghan Defense Minister Masoom Stanekzai has reiterated discredited claims that the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital outside of Kunduz,hospital was "a Taliban base." Meanwhile, in a surprise raid, a US military vehicle forced its way into the hospital which was attacked by US airstrikes two weeks ago. MSF has protested that the "unannounced and forced entry damaged property, destroyed potential evidence and caused stress and fear for the MSF team."
Afghan DM Defends Requesting US Attack
On MSF Hospital Full of Civilians
Jason Ditz / Anti-War.com
(October 19, 2015) -- Afghan Defense Minister Masoom Stanekzai appears to be a few days behind the Pentagon on the ever-changing narrative surrounding the US attack on the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital outside of Kunduz, Afghanistan, an attack which killed 22 civilians and fueled calls for a war crimes investigation.
In a new interview with the Associated Press, Stanekzai reiterated already discredited claims that the hospital was "a Taliban base," saying the Taliban were using the site as a "safe place because everyone knows our security forces and international security forces" would never attack a hospital. So Afghan officials ordered an attack on the hospital anyhow, and the US attacked it.
MSF has never denied treating wounded Taliban, as virtually all aid groups do, but insists no weapons were allowed within the compound, and no firing was coming from the compound the night of the attack.
The US appears to have backed up that claim, and has also confirmed that even if there had been gunfire from the site, the hospital was "restricted" and could not have been legitimately attacked under any circumstances.
MSF insists that the attack was deliberate, and while the Pentagon has changed their story several times the Afghan officials who ordered the strike seem to confirm that it was a deliberate attack on a known hospital, which US troops were engaged in surveillance against at the time.
Stanekzai also gave lip-service to rumors of a Pakistani spy being inside the hospital at the time of the attack, suggesting that the site may have been a "Pakistani ISI base" as opposed to a Taliban base, suggesting he was a little vague on what he was actually alleging.
MSF says none of their staff were from Pakistan, and they have no evidence any of the patients were either. US officials have suggested a single "target" within the hospital wouldn't have justified the attack at any rate, which is only adding to questions about the incident.
Stanekzai seems to be following the long-standing playbook of the Afghan government, which is to never admit wrongdoing, and to stick to any story, no matter how uncredible it becomes.
With the US having been brought into the center of this one, and engaging in their own questionable efforts at damage control, the farce is only growing, and along with it, support for an independent investigation, which is likely the only way any truth is going to come out of this fiasco.
US Tank Enters MSF Hospital in Afghanistan's Kunduz,
'Destroys Potential Evidence' -- Reports
(October 17, 2015) -- A US military vehicle has allegedly forced its way into the hospital in Afghanistan which was devastated by US airstrikes two weeks ago. The move was an unwelcome surprise for Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) which operates the site.
Members of a joint investigation team from the US, NATO and Afghan government were aboard the heavy military vehicle, Reuters reported citing a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) statement on Thursday.
"Their unannounced and forced entry damaged property, destroyed potential evidence and caused stress and fear for the MSF team," the group said, adding that the investigators had previously promised they would notify the organization of any actions involving MSF personnel or assets.
NATO's spokesperson in Afghanistan said the incident was being "reviewed."
"It's a violation of international humanitarian law, so we want to see the facts and understand why," MSF president Meinie Nicolai told RT, referring to the US attack on the hospital in Kunduz.
"Under the Geneva conventions medical care and hospitals are protected sites, they are not allowed to be targeted during war and this is what has happened in this case," the member of the MSF International Board said, adding that the organization is seeking an independent investigation.
President Obama has apologized for the strike that killed at least 22 people, including 12 medical staff and ten patients, and the Pentagon said it would "make condolence payments and payments toward repair of the hospital."
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