Doctors Without Borders has withdrawn from the northern city of Kunduz in Afghanistan after 19 people at a medical charity clinic were killed Saturday in a U.S. airstrike. The U.S. military has acknowledged that the Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) clinic may have been hit while the U.S. was carrying out air strikes. “The strike may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility,” Col. Brian Tribus said in a statement. “This incident is under investigation.” Of the 37 people wounded, 19 were clinic staff. MSF says the clinic was hit a number of times during “sustained bombing” that lasted 30 minutes and was “very badly damaged.” MSF says it has given both sides in the conflict the precise location of the hospital several times over the past few months, including in the past week.
A U.S. senior defense official told The Daily Beast that a U.S.-manned AC-130 gunship “was called in to return fire against a Taliban position that were firing on U.S. Special Forces advising Afghan Special Forces” when the attack began somewhere near the hospital. But the official could not say how close that fighting position was to the hospital or when the United States indeed knew the hospital coordinates beforehand, as MSF said in its statement. Defense officials also could not say how long the attack was. The U.S. military is sending a one-star general to Kunduz to investigate, the official said.