On Oct 3, 2015 US forces upon request of their Afghan allies bombed a MSF hospital in Kunduz, killing 22 patients and staff.
Imagine that same hospital had been struck by a suicide attack instead. A member of the Taliban drives up in a car full of explosives and detonates them. Bombs explode. People die. The only hospital of its kind in the region is partially destroyed. The world would be outraged and rightfully so.Now look at what happened – according to official statements anyway: One or more members of the Taliban were in that hospital, without explosives though. They didn’t have to bring any, because they were delivered by the US air force. Bombs explode. People die. The only hospital of its kind in the region is partially destroyed. Suddenly this is – somehow – considered to be a good thing.
As this article in The Intercept points out, the official story keeps changing. I guess because everyone involved knows how much of a screw-up this is, but nobody wants to lose face.
Still, some Afghan officials continued to suggest that the attack was justified. “I know that there were civilian casualties in the hospital, but a lot of senior Taliban were also killed,” said Abdul Wadud Paiman, a member of Parliament from Kunduz.
As per MSF, 7 adult patients were killed – even if all of them were Taliban, this is not „a lot.“ And while „senior“ implies „high-ranking“ it could just as well mean „old“ – or nothing at all. If there had been any high ranking Taliban killed in the strike, we would know names by now – security forces like bragging about their achievements too much.
If there’s anything good about this at all, it’s the fact that it was a hospital run by MSF, a well organized, connected and respected group with no intentions to shut up. With a bit of luck this story is going to blow up. Just like the hospital did.