No Armed Men in MSF Hospital When US Attacked

US Asked MSF If Taliban Were 'Holed Up' in Hospital the Day Before

When it was attacked early on October 3, the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan had no armed men within, and was functioning as normally as could be expected, right up until a US plane began pounding the site, killing dozens of civilians.

The US appeared obsessed with their mistaken assumption that the Taliban was using the MSF hospital as a base, a falsehood that the Afghan Defense Ministry continues to this day. MSF reported that US officials pressed them on the question just the day before the attack.

Though MSF confirmed to the US that there were no fighters within, the US warplane attacked anyhow, a move which Pentagon officials later described as “a mistake.” Interestingly, Pentagon leaders have conceded that even if there had been gunmen within, the hospital would’ve been off-limits.

MSF repeatedly told the US the coordinates of the hospital, and is still demanding an explanation for the attack, along with an independent investigation. The White House has ruled out independent investigations, however, and the Pentagon’s own internal investigation has delayed the release of its preliminary findings indefinitely.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.