By Dr. Abdullah Al-Ahsan
A US air force plane is reported to have carried out an aerial bombardment on a hospital that has killed at least 19 people, including 12 members of Medecins Sans Frontieres or Doctors Without Borders (MSF). It also wounded 37 people, including 19 MSF staff, 18 patients and caretakers. In a press conference at the Pentagon, General John Campbell has claimed that the air strike was undertaken in response to an Afghan request to eliminate the Taliban threat “and several civilians were accidentally struck.” But no Taliban fighter is reported to be among the dead and wounded. Also the Afghan authorities are reported to have rejected the General’s claim. The act only reminds us of Israeli bombardment in Gaza. MSF President Meinie Nicolai has condemned the attack as “abhorrent and a grave violation of International Humanitarian Law” and has questioned the US version of events leading up to the bombing and called for an independent probe. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has called the attack “tragic, inexcusable and possibly even criminal.” Although President Obama in a statement has expressed deep condolence for the victims and has informed that the Department of Defense has already launched an investigation on the matter, we are of the view that this investigation must be transparent and conducted by institutions such as the International Court of Justice. Only then will the whole truth be known and justice delivered to the families of the victims.
Dr. Abdullah Al-Ahsan is the Vice-President of International Movement for a Justice World (JUST).
6 October 2015.