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MSF: Tank Forced Its Way Into Bombed Afghan Hospital

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 16/10/2015 Eline Gordts
ATHENA IMAGE © Credit: MSF/ASSOCIATED PRESS ATHENA IMAGE

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A medical charity whose hospital in northern Afghanistan was bombed by the U.S. military said on Thursday that a U.S. tank forced its way through the closed gates of the compound, contravening an agreement that they would be informed.

Doctors Without Borders, also known as MSF, said they were informed after the "intrusion" that it was by a delegation from a joint U.S.-NATO-Afghan team investigating the Oct. 3 bombing of the hospital.

The incident violated an agreement with investigators that MSF "would be given notice before each step of the procedure involving the organization's personnel and assets."

"Their unannounced and forced entry damaged property, destroyed potential evidence and caused stress and fear," it said in a statement, adding that an MSF team had arrived at the hospital earlier in the day.

Authorities in Kunduz and the U.S. military did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The strike on the MSF trauma hospital in the northern city of Kunduz killed 10 patients and 12 staff. Another two staffers are now presumed dead, the group said this week, with all other MSF staff accounted for.

U.S. President Barack Obama apologized for the bombing, which the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Gen. John F. Campbell called a "mistake."

The bombing happened as Afghan forces battled Taliban insurgents who had stormed Kunduz on Sept. 28 and briefly held the city of 300,000, the first provincial capital they have overrun since being forced from power in 2001.

Government troops have largely retaken the city, where authorities say life is returning to normal. Casualty figures have not yet been made public.

The seizure was a grave embarrassment for the government of President Ashraf Ghani. On Thursday, Obama said he would keep nearly 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan through most of next year and 5,500 when he leaves office in 2017, throwing a lifeline to the struggling Afghan forces.

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