According to eye-witnesses, on October 3, 2015, a gunship believed to be a US AC-130 attacked a hospital run by Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) in Kunduz, Afghanistan. Twelve staff members and ten patients (including three children) were killed, and thirty-seven people were injured. It is confirmed by several sources that MSF had repeatedly provided US forces with the exact GPS coordinates of the hospital, and that reports of the attack were made to the US forces during the attack which however continued for another 30 minutes.
These reports create a strong presumption of a war crime committed knowingly. Medical care in such a conflict zone depends very heavily on international humanitarian agencies, so that it is an especially egregious offence to make lethal attacks on such a facility. US public statements since this incident have been inconsistent and have done nothing to lift the suspicion of grave responsibility for the attack.
Science for Peace, joining many bodies around the world, calls for a full investigation by an impartial independent group such as the IHFFC. The urgency of clarifying the nature and causes of this incident is heightened by the impression that it is not isolated: forces claiming to be combatting terrorism have repeatedly been reported to target medical personnel, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Gaza, and Yemen. It is important to the security of the world to establish that such attacks can not be made with impunity, that they can be investigated fairly and the guilty brought to account.
Science for Peace
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission (IHFFC)
Christopher Stokes – Médecins sans Frontières – General Director
Dr. Joanne Liu – Médecins sans Frontières – International President
Jason Cone – Médecins sans Frontières – USA Director