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Nine Dead, 37 Wounded As Air Strikes Hit Hospital In Kunduz


In this photograph taken on May 21, an Afghan child receives treatment at the Doctors Without Borders hospital in the northern city of Kunduz.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said its hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz was partially destroyed after being hit by air strikes overnight, with at least nine staff killed, 37 injured, and many more missing.

"We are deeply shocked by the attack, the killing of our staff and patients and the heavy toll it has inflicted on health care in Kunduz," MSF said on October 3.

It said the hospital was hit by a sustained "aerial attack" amid ongoing fighting between the Taliban and NATO-backed Afghan government troops to gain control of the city.

NATO said it might have been responsible.

"U.S. forces conducted an air strike in Kunduz city at 2:15 a.m. ... against individuals threatening the force. The strike may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility. This incident is under investigation," NATO said.

MSF said that, at the time of the bombing, the hospital had 105 patients and their care-takers and more than 80 international and Afghan staff were present.

MSF said it had treated 394 people wounded in fighting since the Taliban attacked the city on September 28.

Government forces largely regained control over the strategic city of 300,000 on October 1, but sporadic fighting continues as Afghan troops track down remaining Taliban fighters. During the fighting, the U.S. military has launched several air strikes to support government forces.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid issued a statement saying there were no Taliban fighters in the hospital at the time of the bombing. It blamed Afghanistan's intelligence service for misdirecting the air strike to purposefully hit the hospital.

The MSF clinic in Kunduz comprises several buildings and is located in the east of the city, not far from the local office of NDS, the Afghan intelligence service.

With reporting by Reuters and AFP
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