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Airstrike in Afghanistan Kills Staff and Patients at MSF Clinic

An air strike in the city of Kunduz, in the Northern province of Afghanistan, has killed staff and patients at an MSF Clinic. The death toll is as yet unclear.

Nato has acknowledged that the clinic may have been hit as part of a US air strike which was being carried out on the city at the time.

The Medecins Sans Frontiers (Doctors Without Borders) charity confirmed that at least three of its staff had been killed in the attack, and more than thirty staff are still unaccounted for. The hospital had a total of 105 patients at the time the strike hit, in addition to more than 80 MSF staff, who were mostly Afghan.

The attack hit key parts of the hospital, including the operating theatre and emergency department. Saad Mukhtar, director of public helath in Kunduz, said that a wall of the hospital’s main building collapsed, whilst at least three rooms were on fire.

MSF stated that the clinic received “sustained bombing and was very badly damaged” during the attack, which took place at 02:10 local time.

A spokesman for the US forces in Afghanistan confirmed that “US forces conducted an air strike” on the region at approximately 02:15 local time which may have resulted in “collateral damage” to the medical facility at Kunduz, adding that the incident was “under investigation”.

Taliban fighters stormed the city on Monday and successfully captured it, leading to intense fighting in the area and giving the Taliban their first capture of an urban centre in 14 years. The hospital was on the frontline of the conflict, with stray bullets having been fired into the roof of the intensive care unit, and the clinic says it has received over 400 patients since the fighting began at the start of the week, despite only having 150 beds. The hospital was the only facility of its kind operating in the North of the country.

No Taliban fighters were at the hospital at the time of the attack, a Taliban spokesman has said.

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