Doctors Without Borders announced Sunday that the death toll from an airstrike on an Afghan hospital that was almost certainly carried out by the United States has risen to 22. The organization also said that it has pulled out of the city where the airstrike took place.
The attack began early on Saturday morning. It hit a hospital being run by DWB in Kunduz, a city in northern Afghanistan that has been the sight of heavy fighting between the Taliban and Afghan forces. After the Taliban seized control of Kunduz, American planes began launching airstrikes on the city. The hospital was a rare neutral zone in the disputed territory.
In a statement on Saturday, DWB said that "all indications currently point to the bombing being carried out by international Coalition forces," and called the attack "a grave violation of International Humanitarian Law." The U.S. military would only acknowledge that it carried out strikes on Kunduz at the exact same time as the hospital was hit, and that there "may have been collateral damage." President Obama promised to investigate the attack.
The bombardment tore the hospital apart.
Lajos Zoltan Jecs, a DWB nurse on the scene, described a horrific aftermath:
What we saw was the hospital destroyed, burning. I don’t know what I felt, just shock again.
We went to look for survivors. A few had already made it to one of the safe rooms. One by one, people started appearing, wounded, including some of our colleagues and caretakers of patients.
We tried to take a look into one of the burning buildings. I cannot describe what was inside. There are no words for how terrible it was. In the Intensive Care Unit six patients were burning in their beds.
On Sunday morning, DWB issued a series of updates about the situation: