The aerial bombing of Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. Statement by Swedish Doctors for Human Rights

[As Swedish version of this text was published by Dagens medicin, 6/10 2015, and also referred in Läkartidningen 5/10]

On October the 3th, air raids against the trauma hospital operated by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Kunduz, Northen Afghanistan, left 59 casualties. It took the life of twelve doctors and MSF personnel; added 10 civilian patients, among them three children. Other 37 people were injured, over the half being MSF workforces. The medical charity organization reports that the attacks persisted for over an hour, in which “the hospital was repeatedly and precisely hit during each aerial raid, while the rest of the compound was left mostly untouched.” [1] The Kunduz area neighbours the territory where Swedish military have been stationed since Sweden joined the NATO-led coalition in Afghanistan, nowadays remaining there under USA-command.

MFS has issued a statement claiming that “All indications currently point to the bombing being carried out by international Coalition forces.” MSF President Meinie Nicolai called the attack “a grave violation of International Humanitarian Law”, and found unacceptable that it should be dismissed as ‘collateral damage’. [1]

Together with expressing our deepest condolences to Doctors Without Borders, our organization joint MFS in voicing a most stern protest against the responsible of this inexcusable killings of patients and medical personnel, and demand an investigation by an ad hoc committee set at the United Nations, independent of theinquiry requested to the US Department of Defence. [2]

Further, in view of recent revelations by The New York Times on the alleged participation of Swedish military officials in the selection of U.S. aerial targets in Afghanistan, [3][4][5] we also demand that the Swedish government shall issue a disclaimer of total disengagement in the decision targeting the Doctors Without Borders hospital.

Professor Dr Marcello Ferrada de Noli, chairman

Professor Dr Anders Romelsjö, vice chairman

Dr Alberto Gutierrez PhD, and Dr Lena Oske, in representation of SWEDHR board of directors

Dr Armando Popa, editor of SWEDHR Research & Reports

Dr Leif Elinder and Dr Martin O. Gelin, members of Swedish Doctors for Human Rights


[1] Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), “Afghanistan: MSF Demands Explanations After Deadly Airstrikes Hit Hospital in Kunduz”, 3 Oct 2015.

[2] The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, “Statement by the President on the Casualties in Kunduz”, 3 Oct 2015.

[3] The New York Times, “Germany and Sweden Are Said to Help Make Afghan Kill Decisions”, 4 Sept 2015

[4] DN, “New York Times: Sverige beslutar om dödliga attacker”, 4 Sept 2015

[5] M. Ferrada de Noli et al., Swedish Doctors for Human Rights condemns alleged participation of Swedish military in NATO drone-killings decisions in Afghanistan, SWEDHR Research & Reports, 1 Oct 2015.

  no doctor survived – kunduz hospital burns

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