Kunduz air strikes possibly criminal - UN rights chief

2015-10-03 17:56
The MSF hospital is seen in flames after an explosion in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz. (Médecins Sans Frontières via AP)

The MSF hospital is seen in flames after an explosion in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz. (Médecins Sans Frontières via AP)

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MSF doctor shares the tough decisions he's made in the field

2014-10-03 16:07

In 2009 Dr Mohammed Dalwai joined MSF and spent six months as an emergency room doctor in Timergara, a restive city in Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan. We speak to him about the tough decisions he's made in the field.WATCH

Geneva - A suspected US air strike on a hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz that killed 16 people on Saturday, was "inexcusable" and "possibly criminal", UN rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said.

Zeid called for a full and transparent investigation, noting that, "if established as deliberate in a court of law, an air strike on a hospital may amount to a war crime".

Doctors Without Borders - known by its French acronym MSF - said the bombardment continued for more than 30 minutes after Washington was informed and that both Afghan and US officials were given the precise location of MSF facilities.

"This event is utterly tragic, inexcusable and possibly even criminal," Zeid said in a statement.

The Afghan defence ministry said militants were targeting troops from the hospital building.

Nato conceded US forces may have been behind the strike, but has not so far commented on the specific claims of MSF, which has long treated the war-wounded from all sides of the conflict.

"International and Afghan military planners have an obligation to respect and protect civilians at all times, and medical facilities and personnel are the object of a special protection," Zeid said.

"These obligations apply no matter whose air force is involved, and irrespective of the location."

MSF said that dozens of people were confirmed to have been injured and that many patients and staff of the hospital remained unaccounted for.

Saturday's bombing came after Taliban insurgents overran the northern Afghan city on Monday. It was the first major city to be captured by militants since 2001.

Read more on:    taliban  |  msf  |  nato  |  afghanistan

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