The airstrike that struck the hospital in Afghanistan on Saturday, killing 22 people, was not called in by U.S. troops, the general in charge of U.S. forces in Afghanistan said Monday.Afghan forces in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz came under fire and requested support from a U.S. AC-130 gunship, which then opened fire on a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders, Gen. John Campbell told reporters Monday morning.Campbell would not go into further details about Saturday’s attack, but said U.S., NATO and Afghan officials all are conducting investigations into what happened.
Did a US AC-130 pound the heck out of a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz? It sure looks that way. But it appears the strike was called in by our Afghan allies.
And of coure DWB (MSF) is calling for an investigation. OK, sure. Let’s start with a couple of easy questions. Like, why did our Afghan allies report that armed enemies occupied the building? Were DWB providing sanctuary to armed forces? Did they do so under duress? Or were they willing accomplices? Understand, either way, if armed enemies occupied the building, it lost its legal protections under the law of war.
And why isn’t the hospital appropriately marked with the Red Cross or Red Crescent as required by international law and the law of war?
In theory, the idea of DWB, providing medical services to any and all, without taking sides in a conflict, is admirable. In practice, however, given the nature of conflict today, DWB hospitals and care tend to be situated in areas outside the control of a legitimate government. In effect, they become a health care provider for insurgent forces.