• publish: 12 December 2015
  • time: 9:31 pm
  • category: Security&Crime
  • No: 2614

Death toll rises to 42 in Kunduz hospital, MSF officials say

Doctors Without Borders upped the death toll from a US strike on its Kunduz hospital to 42 Saturday, as a new UN report laid bare grim human rights violations during the Taliban’s stunning capture of the Afghan city.

Pressure is growing for an international inquiry into the catastrophic October 3 bombing of the hospital which came as NATO-backed Afghan forces clashed with insurgents for control of the northern provincial capital.

MSF released the new toll as a UN report on Saturday more than trebled the number of civilians killed after the Taliban overran the city, causing “extreme suffering” for residents trapped by two weeks of fighting.

The charity has said the raid on the hospital by a AC-130 gunship lasted nearly an hour and left patients burning in their beds with some victims decapitated and suffering traumatic amputations. MSF has branded it a war crime.

“Previously MSF had reported a death toll of at least 30 people, but the organisation confirms the toll has risen to 42, after methodical review of MSF records and family claims, as well as patient, staff and family testimonies,” MSF said in a statement.

The revised figures included 14 MSF staff, 24 patients and four caretakers, it said.

The strike was “caused primarily by human error”, General John Campbell, the US commander in Afghanistan, said last month, prompting a strong rebuke from the charity who slammed American forces for “gross negligence”.

The charity has called for an independent investigation, delivering a petition signed by 547,000 people to the White House Wednesday, but so far neither the US nor Afghanistan has agreed.

Guilhem Molinie, the charity’s Afghanistan director, said those killed had given their lives treating people trapped in a war zone.

“We ask President Obama to honour their work and their memory by consenting to a truly independent, international investigation,” he said in a statement released by MSF Saturday.

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