A catastrophic bombing in Afghanistan’s Kunduz province claimed the lives of 12 staff members of the international humanitarian nonprofit Doctors Without Borders (also known as Médecins Sans Frontières). Carried out by U.S. aircraft on October 3 in the midst of the ongoing conflict between the Afghan government and the Taliban, the attack also killed 10 civilians, including three children.

A nurse who worked at the hospital and was present at the time of the bombing recounted the horrific events in a post featured on the organization’s website:

These are people who had been working hard for months, non-stop for the past week. They had not gone home, they had not seen their families, they had just been working in the hospital to help people… and now they are dead. These people are friends, close friends. I have no words to express this. It is unspeakable.

The nonprofit – founded in Paris in 1971 – provides medical services to war-torn and poverty-stricken regions around the world. The organization is a nobel peace laureate.

In a statement following the bombing, the non-governmental organization labeled the attack a war crime, demanding an independent probe into the bombing.

The details of the U.S. decision making leading up to the attack are currently unknown. Doctors Without Borders had, on multiple occasions, relayed its location to all belligerents in region’s conflict. Despite this awareness – and the fact that the organization notified U.S. authorities immediately after the bombing commenced – the raid lasted for thirty minutes, terrorizing the staff and civilians inside. The hospital provided the only trauma care in the province. Locals will now have to travel hours to neighboring provinces in order to receive life-saving treatment.

U.S. and Afghan officials allege that Taliban fighters had entered the perimeter of the hospital. Even if this were the case, the incident could still qualify as a war crime under internationally recognized definitions of the term.

While Doctors Without Borders is yet to announce a widow’s fund, you can still help. The organization fundraises around its work assisting regions damaged by aerial bombing campaigns. It is a tragedy that courageous nonprofit workers perished in such a manner, but a fitting tribute is to give to the group’s invaluable mission providing for people around the world whose lives are caught up in the awful grind of war.

You can find more details on how to give to Doctors Without Borders here.


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