Three days ago, during the night of October 2-3, and although it had the precise co-ordinates for the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, US-led NATO forces repeatedly bombed the medical facility bitself, leaving at least 22 people dead—12 staff members and 10 patients, including three children—and wounding 37 more. Ben Norton analyzes the US media reporting on this for Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR):
AFP, the first network to report the story, in the early hours of October 3, quoted NATO saying, “US forces conducted an air strike in Kunduz city…. The strike may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility.”
MSF promptly issued a statement (10/3/15), revealing that it had been “hit several times during sustained bombing and was very badly damaged.” In an update hours later, MSF said it “condemns in the strongest possible terms the horrific bombing of its hospital in Kunduz, which was full of staff and patients.”
The humanitarian organization also indicated multiple times—and in bold capital letters—that “all parties to the conflict, including in Kabul and Washington, were clearly informed of the precise location (GPS Coordinates) of the MSF facilities in Kunduz, including the hospital, guesthouse, office and an outreach stabilization unit.” MSF says the US “repeatedly and precisely” hit the hospital.
Morever, the aid group explained that the “bombing in Kunduz continued for more than 30 minutes after American and Afghan military officials in Kabul and Washington were first informed by MSF that its hospital was struck.” That is to say, the US persisted in bombing a hospital that it explicitly knew before and during the attack was a hospital.
Norton points out that the New York Times rewrote and changed the title of its article on the hospital bombing seven times. You can read the details of his analysis of the US press here.
Let us just note that as the NYT, CNN, Fox News, Washington Post, AP, the Wall Street Journal and others busily produced articles either concealing the US role in this war crime or outright justifying the crime itself, the same media outlets were also throwing more dust into the public’s eyes by (falsely) “reporting” that the first Russian air strikes in Syria had killed a number of civilians. Curiously enough, reports of the latter came before the air strikes themselves—something the same media will, naturally, make sure their readers and viewers are not informed of. Call me cynical, but it seems clear to me that the immediate and vociferous US administration’s and Western media lies about the nature and results of the Russian air strikes in Syria were intended in part to distract our attention from US bombing of a charity-run hospital in Afghanistan.
Nor is this the first time NATO’s air forces, led by the US, have struck a medical facility: during the illegal bombing of Serbia, they had also managed to bomb a maternity hospital in downtown Belgrade. No investigation into that (and other war crimes committed by NATO in Serbia) was ever carried out, and no NATO military officer or politician was made to answer for it. Do not expect any American or NATO commander to be called to answer for this latest war crime in Afghanistan, either.