An Afghan minister said Taliban militants were using the Doctors Without Borders hospital, bombed by the United States, during the early hours of Oct. 3. The comment comes after the organization, known by its French acronym MSF, said the U.S. strike on an Afghan hospital was “no mistake.”
Afghanistan's acting defense minister Masoom Stanekzai said Taliban militants were using the hospital as a hideout. He added that Pakistani insurgents were also likely to have been using the place as a “safe place.” He added the Taliban had hoisted its flag on the walls around the hospital compound.
"That was a place they wanted to use as a safe place because everybody knows that our security forces and international security forces were very careful not to do anything with a hospital," the minister told AAP. "But when there was on one of the walls of the hospital, there was a Taliban flag - what can you think?"
A U.S. AC-130 gunship bombed the hospital and killed at least 22 people. The hospital is not operating any more as the main building has been destroyed. The organization has repeatedly denied any terrorist involvement in the hospital.
Kate Stegeman, MSF's communications director in Afghanistan, reemphasized Monday that the hospital was a shelter for no terrorists. "We reiterate that every staff member in Kunduz working for MSF has repeatedly reported to us that there were no armed people in the hospital at the time of the bombing," AAP quoted Stegeman as saying.
MSF General Director Christopher Stokes earlier said the U.S. strike should be considered as a possible war crime. He said that the hospital had been repeatedly hit both at the front and the rear and extensively destroyed and damaged, even though MSF had provided all the coordinates and all the right information to all the parties in the conflict, AAP reported.