This image of the Hospital in Kunduz from yesterday looks no different to the ruins of many 1000’s of buildings destroyed in Afghanistan over the last 15 years. That the building was destroyed by American bombs is also not remarkable, although perhaps the fact that this was a Hospital until yesterday does bring that sentence into question. We don’t expect the power and might of our most powerful ally and the world power which is often described as the worlds policeman to destroy a working hospital. That the hospital was being run by Doctors Without Borders or Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in reality makes no difference in that sense. No Hospital could ever be a legitimate target by any army or terrorist group. The following statement from MSF makes it very clear how this atrocity, something that some people have described as a war crime should not have happened:
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) condemns in the strongest possible terms the horrific bombing of its hospital in Kunduz, which was full of staff and patients. MSF wishes to clarify that all parties to the conflict, including in Kabul and Washington, were clearly informed of the precise location (GPS Coordinates) of the MSF facilities in Kunduz, including the hospital, guesthouse, office and an outreach stabilization unit in Chardara northwest of Kunduz.
As it does in all conflict contexts, MSF communicated the precise locations of its facilities to all parties on multiple occasions over the past months, including most recently on September 29.
This report by Sky News also makes clear that MSF rang NATO to call for the attack to end even while bombs were falling. Sadly this action made no difference to the final outcome as the MSF report explains, the bombs continued to fall for 30 minutes after their calls to the USA and Afghan Governments. As the Conservative Party meets in Manchester with its focus on National Security it is vital that our Prime Minister David Cameron, the Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Defence Minister Michael Fallon all call in the strongest terms on the USA to submit itself to the International Community in order to answer for its actions so that the accusation of war crimes can be fully addressed. Any failure by our Government to speak out on this occasion will leave them open to accusations of hypocrisy and even complicity in this crime. Had this bombing run been carried out by a force such as Russia or IS or the Taliban, the Government would not have hesitated in calling for these atrocities to be answered for. It is vital that the Government and its allies do not place themselves above or beyond International laws. As I write Obama is claiming he will speak out once the Pentagon have carried out their inquiry. If these had been American citizens under fire from another power (including a British one) there would have been no allowance made for careful inquires!