Following Deadly Air Strike, US Harassed MSF Staff by Forcing an Armored Vehicle in the Hospital Premise

Written by  AFP Friday, 16 October 2015 13:37

KUNDUZ: United States (US) troops drove a military vehicle through the gates of an Afghan hospital hit this month in a deadly air strike, in an incident that Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said Friday may have damaged evidence relating to the attack.

The armoured personnel carrier forced its way through the metal gate of the compound in Kunduz on Thursday afternoon and damaged the barrier, apparently unaware that MSF staff including country director Guilhem Molinie were at the hospital, an AFP reporter saw.

The US delegation began negotiating with several foreign MSF doctors, insisting upon being allowed into the hospital as part of their investigation into the catastrophic October 3 strike that killed at least 24 people.

The discussions lasted for around an hour and a half, with the troops allowed to enter only after laying down their arms.

An MSF spokeswoman confirmed the intrusion, adding it occurred "despite an agreement made between MSF and the joint investigation team that MSF would be given notice before each step of the procedure involving the organisation's personnel and assets."

"Their unannounced and forced entry damaged property, destroyed potential evidence and caused stress and fear for the MSF team," she said.

A North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) spokeswoman said: "We are aware of the incident and are looking into what happened."

MSF has called for an impartial investigation into the strike on its hospital by the US, which killed at least 14 staff and 10 patients, with nine others still unaccounted for.

The attack caused global revulsion and caused MSF to close the hospital's trauma centre, seen as a lifeline in a war-battered region with scant medical care.

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