New details about the lead-up to the October 3 US airstrike against a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital near Kunduz, Afghanistan continue to emerge, and further add to the likelihood that the US attack overtly violated international law.
The new claims center around the mistaken assumption among the Green Berets stationed near the hospital that the functioning MSF site was actually under Taliban control. Previous reports have also indicated those troops were “new” to Afghanistan and that the US had initially ordered some surveillance of the site on suspicion that a Pakistani spy was within.
The reports suggested that the troops were fully aware the site was a functioning hospital at the time they called in the attack, which Pentagon officials have repeatedly made clear shouldn’t have been allowed under any circumstances, no matter what they suspected might’ve been going on inside.
Indeed, the troops had reportedly asked an MSF director in Kabul about the site, and an unnamed US official had asked MSF officials in the US, just days before the bombing, if their hospital in Kunduz “had a large group of Taliban fighters in it.”
Naturally, it didn’t, and there’s been no evidence that anyone other than a rising number of civilians were slain in the attack. But MSF made clear during that meeting that they believed it was vital to “respect medical structures,” which likely explains how particularly furious they were when the US ended up attacking it anyhow.