Aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres dismisses claims that an air strike on an Afghan hospital was targeting militant fighters. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said on Tuesday (October 6) that it was working under the assumption that the deadly bombing of its hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz at the weekend was a "war crime". Speaking in Brussels, MSF operational directorate president Meinie Nicolai said the attack could qualify as a war crime since belligerents were all aware of the hospital location. "The location of this hospital was well-known, was well-communicated to all parties like we do in a conflict. The opposition forces, including in the coalition forces and the Afghan forces. We've given the coordinates. The hospital exists for four years. It's a relatively big hospital that is clearly visible and known to everybody so a precise attack on this big hospital - if not proven differently - leads us to a war crime," Nicolai said. The incident occurred during a push by Afghan security forces to retake the key northern city of Kunduz from Taliban insurgents. The U.S. military said it conducted an air strike "in the vicinity" of the hospital as it targeted Taliban insurgents who were directly firing on U.S. military personnel. U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a U.S. military AC-130 gunship had been operating in the area, firing at Taliban targets after receiving a request for support from U.S. special operations forces advising Afghan troops. Nicolai cast doubts about the claim that insurgents were located close to the hospital. "So claiming that they were targeting fighters is not proven by the facts so this claim is ridiculous. Our staff has heard no fighting coming from the compound. This compound is guarded, is fenced, and the only patients inside the building were - as I said - patients and staff and they are the only wounded and casualties of this attack," Nicolai said. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter has promised a full investigation into whether the American military was involved in the strike on the hospital, that killed 22 people, but warned it would take time to gather information.