Over the weekend, U.S. Ambassador to the United States Samantha Power took to Twitter to warn Russia against civilian casualties: “We call on Russia to immediately cease attacks on Syrian oppo[sition and] civilians.”
Along with the initial tweet, she added a statement from the U.S. and other powerful allies to add a powerful point: civilian casualties “will only fuel more extremism and radicalization.”
One day later, in the early hours of the morning, the U.S. dropped bombs on Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders in the Afghan city of Kunduz.
"At 2:10 am [20:40 GMT] local time ... the MSF trauma centre in Kunduz was hit several times during sustained bombing and was very badly damaged," MSF said in a statement on Friday.
Al Jazeera reports that that hospital “is the only medical facility in the region that can deal with major injuries.”
A chilling tweet from the hospital’s Twitter account claimed that, “16 [people] killed - 9 MSF staff, 7 patients (3 children). 37 injured - 19 staff (5 critical) & 18 patients & caretakers.” That number has since increased to 22 killed.
LATEST: 16 ppl killed - 9 MSF staff, 7 patients (3 children). 37 injured - 19 staff (5 critical) & 18 patients & caretakers. #Afghanistan— MSF UK (@MSF_uk) October 3, 2015
MSF officials told Reuters that they “frantically phoned” NATO and the Washington D.C. as bombs continued to rain down on them for over an hour.
The U.S. military in Afghanistan issued a statement following the attack that claimed the airstrikes were “against individuals threatening force,” acknowledging that “the strike may have caused some collateral damage to a nearby medical facility.”
"Collateral damage" - US statement on Kunduz hospital strike pic.twitter.com/Xa4LAaFsdg— Stuart Millar (@stuartmillar159) October 3, 2015
In a series of several tweets, MSF’s executive director Jason Cone said the hospital “condemns in the strongest possible terms the horrific bombing of its hospital in Kunduz full of staff and patients.”
He added that “all parties [to the] conflict, including in Kabul & Washington, were clearly informed of precise GPS Coordinates of MSF facilities in Kunduz,” and that the “precise location of MSF Kunduz hospital [was] communicated to all parties on multiple occasions over past months, including on 9/29.”
The New York Times reports that the “the Taliban had respected the hospital’s request not to bring weapons inside, according to staff members, and the hospital had been a refuge in the shattered city of Kunduz. It was a place where the wounded from all sides were treated.” This allegedly could be the source of hostility towards the hospital as this policy “has long irked the Afghan security forces.”
Amid the reports of this attack, U.S. officials went to Time Magazine to conclude that Russia will create more terrorists than they kill if they continue their current tactics: “We believe if you inadvertently kill innocent men, women and children, then there’s a backlash from that,” said the Air Force’s deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, Lt. Gen. Bob Otto.
“We might kill three and create 10 terrorists. It really goes back to the question of are we killing more than were making?”
The U.S. government seems to be making a new terrifying habit of sweeping these “civilian casualties” under the rug while pointing the finger at Russia for not being aware that their high civilian casualty rate could actually be making more terrorists than they are killing.
This latest airstrike might prove that the U.S. needs to point that finger somewhere else and start practicing what they preach before it’s too late.