THE medical charity, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), has rightly denounced the targeted bombing by US planes of its medical centre in the Afghan city of Kunduz, as a war crime.
The hospital was hit repeatedly in precision airstrikes for over an hour resulting in the death of 22 people, including twelve MSF doctors and nurses along with ten patients, three of them children. US president Barrack Obama issued a statement on Sunday offering his ‘deepest condolences’ and saying he expected a full US military investigation into, what he described as, the ‘collateral damage’ caused by airstrikes against Taliban positions in the city.
He notably refused to offer any apology for the atrocity committed by US/NATO forces. The implications of Obama’s statement was that this was, at worst, a tragic accident. It is now clear the US military knew exactly what they were doing, there was no mistake, the hospital was deliberately targeted for destruction. This has been admitted by both the US military and the Afghan authorities.
The acting governor of Kunduz, Hamdullah Danishi, told the Washington Post the hospital was a target because its campus ‘was 100% used by the Taliban. The hospital has a vast garden, and the Taliban were there’. A spokeswomen for the US military confirmed this was no accident, saying that the US airstrike was directed at insurgents who were ‘directly firing upon US service members advising and assisting Afghan security forces in the city of Kunduz. . . .the strike was conducted in the vicinity of a Doctors Without Borders medical facility’.
Both these statements, while admitting the deliberate nature of the attacks, seek to obscure the reality that it was not the ‘vast grounds’ or the ‘vicinity’ of the medical facility that came under a sustained and murderous prolonged wave of airstrikes but the hospital itself!
The MSF general director, Christopher Stokes, made this absolutely clear saying the main hospital building was ‘repeatedly and very precisely hit during each aerial raid, while the rest of the compound was left mostly untouched’. Stokes also hit out at the lying accusation that Taliban fighters had been using the hospital grounds to fire on Afghan or US troops, saying: ‘The hospital was full of MSF staff, patients and their caretakers’ and that ‘Not a single member of our staff reported any fighting inside the MSF hospital compound prior to the US airstrikes on Saturday morning.’
The inescapable conclusion is that this hospital, whose location and co-ordinates are well known to the US/NATO imperialist forces, was deliberately targeted with the intention of murdering both patients and medical staff. The reason for this act of imperialist terrorism is equally clear, to kill the patients on the off chance that they are wounded Taliban fighters and to terrorise doctors and nurses out of providing medical assistance to anyone deemed an enemy of imperialism.
At a time when the city of Kunduz is being besieged by the puppet Afghan government and its US masters and the need for medical facilities has never been more acute, Saturday’s murderous attack has forced MSF to pull all its staff out of the city – job done as far as the imperialists are concerned.
The war crime committed in Kunduz is a stark warning about the barbaric nature of imperialism and its ruthless attempt to re-conquer the world. It comes at a time when in Britain the Tories are openly boasting at their conference that they have enough right wing Labour MPs on board to secure a vote to bomb Syria to effect regime change. Without their support Cameron would face certain defeat.
As Labour is given a ‘free vote’ on the issue, courtesy of the left Corbyn leadership, these traitors will open the door for Cameron to survive and join in the war crimes being carried out by the US air force. The only way that workers in Europe and the US can bring an end to imperialist barbarism is to take action to bring down their own governments and go forward to the overthrow of capitalism and imperialism and replacing both with a world socialist society.