MSF raises death toll from Kunduz hospital strike

By South Asia correspondent James Bennett, staff

Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres says more people were killed in an American airstrike on a hospital in Afghanistan than first thought.

After two months of investigation, Medicins Sans Frontiers, also known as Doctors Without Borders, said it had now verified 42 deaths – 12 more than first reported.

In addition to 14 of its staff, MSF said 24 patients and four caretakers lost their lives when an American aircraft launched repeated airstrikes on its hospital at Kunduz early on October 3.

Afghan and US forces had been battling the Taliban for control of the town.

The US has since admitted responsibility citing human error, but MSF is maintaining its call for an independent internationally-led investigation.

The revised toll came after what the charity called a methodical review of MSF records and family claims, interviews with staff, patients and family members, as well as cross-checking with other hospitals in Afghanistan where MSF patients were referred post-attack.

“Although determining the death toll has been extremely difficult in the chaos of the facility’s wreckage following the attack, extensive efforts have been undertaken to identify those who have died,” it said in a statement.

“Part of the medical archives, patient files, and admission sheets were destroyed, as they were located in the main hospital building that burned down in the attack.

It said additional human remains had been found in the hospital rubble since the airstrikes.