Doctors Without Borders Says US Plane Shot Staff Fleeing Airstrike

They 'were shot by the circling gunship while fleeing the burning building'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 5, 2015 1:00 PM CST
Doctors Without Borders Says US Plane Shot Staff Fleeing Airstrike
Christopher Stokes, general director of Doctors Without Borders, stands near the charred remains of the organizations' hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, after it was hit by a US airstrike Oct. 3.   (Najim Rahim via AP)

Not only was a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan destroyed during a US airstrike last month, but an American plane shot people attempting to get out of the facility, according to the nonprofit's report on the incident released Thursday. "Thirty of our patients and medical staff died," NBC News quotes the nonprofit's general director, Christopher Stokes, as saying. "Some of them lost their limbs and were decapitated in the explosions. Others were shot by the circling gunship while fleeing the burning building." The US has called the airstrike—which took place Oct. 3 as Afghan forces were trying to take the city of Kunduz back from the Taliban—a mistake. Doctors Without Borders calls it a war crime, NBC reports.

The report states a US official asked the nonprofit if it had a large number of Taliban fighters "holed up" in the hospital two days before the airstrike, NBC reports. The hospital had indeed recently begun treating more wounded Taliban fighters than Afghan forces. But the nonprofit assured the US it was not under threat by the Taliban, according to the Washington Post. The nonprofit states the hospital only had 20 Taliban fighters—all unarmed and in beds—at the time of the attack, which lasted more than an hour as staff attempted to contact US and Afghan officials. Doctors Without Borders released its report on the incident as it continues to demand an international inquiry. “Being a doctor in a war zone cannot be punishable by airstrikes," says Stokes, per the Huffington Post. (Read more Kunduz, Afghanistan stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.