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Will There Be Accountability for the Kunduz Hospital Bombing?

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The Pulse

Will There Be Accountability for the Kunduz Hospital Bombing?

A Médecins Sans Frontières hospital was struck by an air strike in Kunduz, Afghanistan. Will there be accountability?

Will There Be Accountability for the Kunduz Hospital Bombing?
Credit: Petur Asgeirsson via

An airstrike on a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan has left at least 19 people dead. MSF has issued a strong statement, which includes the following:

The international medical organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) condemns in the strongest possible terms the horrific aerial bombing of its hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. Twelve staff members and at least seven patients, including three children, were killed; 37 people were injured including 19 staff members. This attack constitutes a grave violation of International Humanitarian Law.

All indications currently point to the bombing being carried out by international Coalition forces. MSF demands a full and transparent account from the Coalition regarding its aerial bombing activities over Kunduz on Saturday morning. MSF also calls for an independent investigation of the attack to ensure maximum transparency and accountability.

MSF also mentioned that it “had communicated the exact location of the hospital to all parties to the conflict.”

How could this have happened?

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, has already asked for a credible investigation and noted that we could be talking about a war crime.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has said that the U.S. is still trying to figure out precisely what has transpired. In a brief statement, Carter mentioned that an investigation has already begun.

A full investigation into the tragic incident is underway in coordination with the Afghan government. At this difficult moment, we will continue to work with our Afghan partners to try and end the ongoing violence in and around Kunduz.

Just days ago Kunduz fell to the Taliban. Afghan and coalition forces are still struggling to regain full control of the city.

More details about this tragic incident are sure to come in the days ahead. An impartial and comprehensive investigation is the order of the day. And, once those results come in, attention will likely turn to the difficult and uncomfortable matter of accountability.

Once we discover exactly what happened, will there be genuine accountability for Kunduz?

We must demand nothing less.

*A version of this piece first appeared in The Huffington Post.