According to the Associated Press, two unnamed servicemen reportedly told Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) that U.S. special forces called in the airstrike on the hospital “because they believed the Taliban were using it as a command center, contradicting the military’s explanation that the attack was meant for a different building.”
“Without assurances about the safety and security of medical humanitarian space, we dare not go where we are most needed.”
—Dr. Deane Marchbein, MSF-USA
The servicemen allege that U.S. forces “were not aware the Doctors Without Borders building was still being used as a hospital” because Afghan forces told them “it had become a Taliban command and control center.”
However, additional AP reporting found, “The day before the attack, a senior special forces commander wrote in a report that the hospital was in Taliban hands and his objective was to clear it. A senior Pentagon official called Doctors Without Borders to ask whether their hospital had been overrun; he was told it had not.”
Speaking Wednesday, Cone emphasized that parties involved in the conflict cannot be trusted “to carry out an independent and impartial examination of an attack in which they are implicated.”
“Perpetrators cannot also be judges,” he stated, reiterating the organization’s repeated request to empower the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission (IHFFC) to investigate possible violations of International Humanitarian Law.
Also speaking at Wednesday’s rally, Dr. Deane Marchbein, president of the MSF-USA Board of Directors, added: “For people like me who regularly work in war zones, it’s essential to understand and to affirm the rules of war. Without assurances about the safety and security of medical humanitarian space, we dare not go where we are most needed.”
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