The President of the United States Barack Obama has expressed his deepest condolences over the death of the medical staff and civilians in a US airstrike in northern Kunduz province, the White House said in a statement.
“On behalf of the American people, I extend my deepest condolences to the medical professionals and other civilians killed and injured in the tragic incident at a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz. The Department of Defense has launched a full investigation, and we will await the results of that inquiry before making a definitive judgment as to the circumstances of this tragedy,” the statement said.
Obama in the statement has also said that “I have asked the Department of Defense to keep me apprised of the investigation and expect a full accounting of the facts and circumstances. Michelle and I offer our thoughts and prayers to all of the civilians affected by this incident, their families, and loved ones.”
He onces again emphasized that “we will continue to work closely with President Ghani, the Afghan government, and our international partners to support the Afghan National Defense and Security forces as they work to secure their country.”
The U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the Kunduz and called for an impartial investigation of the incident.
“The Secretary-General strongly condemns the air strikes in Kunduz, Afghanistan, that resulted in the death and injury of medical workers and patients at a Medecins Sans Frontieres hospital on Oct. 3,” Ban’s press office said in a statement.
The statement added that “hospitals and medical personnel are explicitly protected under international humanitarian law.” Ban called for a “thorough and impartial investigation into the attack in order to ensure accountability,” it said.
The airstrike took place early Sunday on the Médecins Sans Frontières’ (MSF) Trauma Center in Kunduz city that killed at least 16 people including nine staff members and left 37 wounded.
However, “there are many patients and staff who remain unaccounted for”, their statement read.
Since fighting broke out on Monday, MSF has treated 394 wounded. “When the aerial attack occurred this morning we had 105 patients and their care-takers in the hospital and over 80 MSF international and national staff present.”
MSF’s hospital is the only facility of its kind in the whole north-eastern region of Afghanistan, providing free life- and limb-saving trauma care. MSF doctors treat all people according to their medical needs and do not make distinctions based on a patient’s ethnicity, religious beliefs or political affiliation, read the statement.