By Nick Bernabe
Up to 20 civilians were killed by U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistan early Saturday morning that hit a hospital in Kunduz. According to reports, another 37 people have been injured and many more remain unaccounted for. The hospital is operated by a French affiliate of Doctors Without Borders, Médecins Sans Frontières (MFS), and was the only functioning health facility in the area.
According to The Guardian,
The hospital was hit during an aerial bombardment on Saturday morning in the besieged city of Kunduz, destroying a large portion of the facility. An MSF source told the Guardian that up to 20 Afghan members of staff and patients were killed and dozens more injured. They said the death toll could rise further. Among the killed were nine MSF staff and seven patients from the intensive care unit, including three children.
“I was inside my office. Around 2am, the plane started bombing the main building of MSF. It lasted one and a half hours. After 3:30am, I came out from my office and saw all of the hospital was on fire,” said an MSF staff member who wished to remain anonymous. He continued, “We couldn’t save our doctors, our nurses, our cleaners, our friends. They burned inside the hospital. We couldn’t save our brothers and friends.”
MSF posted a tweet claiming that U.S., Afghan, and Taliban forces were all aware of the location of the hospital and were assured it would not be targeted. However, even after alerting U.S. forces the hospital was being bombed, the shelling continued for an additional 30 minutes.
Precise location of our #Kunduz hospital communicated to all parties on multiple occasions over past months, including on 9/29
— MSF International (@MSF) October 3, 2015
Bombing continued for >30 minutes after American & Afghan military officials in Kabul & Washington first informed of proximity to hospital. — MSF International (@MSF) October 3, 2015
The city of Kunduz is the site of a renewed battle between U.S.-backed Afghan security forces and the Taliban. The U.S. government claims the war in Afghanistan is over and that the country is transitioning into a democracy. The truth is that Afghanistan is in just as poor shape as it was before the 2001 overthrow of the Taliban. In fact, some conditions are worse now than they were before the U.S. installed a Western-friendly government.
Last week, we learned U.S. Marines were instructed to allow Afghan security forces and U.S.-backed Afghan militias to molest children. One Marine broke rank to stop a pedophile and was later forced into retirement for not following orders. And, production of opium — nearly eradicated by the Taliban — is now at record levels under the new regime.
The bombing comes at a critical time for U.S. foreign policy hawks, including President Obama, who in recent days has been criticizing Russia for initiating a bombing campaign of its own in Syria, in support of the Syrian government. While Russia maintains it is targeting terrorists in Syria, Western media reports flooded the airwaves the day Russia’s bombing started with reports of civilian casualties.
This hospital bombing is sure to complicate the West’s rhetoric against Russian aggression — considering their main talking point is concern over civilian and non-terrorist deaths at the hands of Russia in Syria. As news of the United States’ bombing of this hospital spreads, it leaves little room for criticism of Russian airstrikes.
Corporate media reports were quick to condemn Russian aggression, and rightly so; however, they have been utterly silent regarding U.S. collateral damage in recent months. While the United States and its allies continue indiscriminate airstrikes in at least seven countries, the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led incursion into Yemen has taken the lives of 500 children since March. In fact, the U.S. War on Terror has taken the lives of an estimated four million Muslims since 2001, many of whom were women and children.
It’s long past time for the U.S. public and media to oppose the innocent killing of civilians, whether the crimes are committed by Russia or their own government.
Nick Bernabe founded Anti-Media in May of 2012. His topics of interest include civil liberties, the drug war, economic justice, foreign policy, geopolitics, government corruption, the police state, politics, propaganda, and social justice. He currently resides in Chula Vista, California, where he was born and raised.
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