Luftschlag in Kundus: MSF-Krankenhaus bombardiert (mit Updates)

Da scheint einiges gewaltig schief zu laufen in Kundus, Afghanistan. Nachdem die Provinzhauptstadt am vergangenen Montag nach einem Überraschungsangriff von den Taliban eingenommen worden war, hatten afghanische Sicherheitskräfte – mit US-Unterstützung – die Stadt wieder weitgehend unter Kontrolle gebracht. Allerdings gab es in einigen Bereichen noch Gefechte. Die grundsätzliche Einschätzung der westlichen, auch der deutschen, Militärs: Die Afghanen sind durchaus in der Lage, die Situation zu bereinigen. Die optimistische Ansicht scheint etwas verfrüht. Am (heutigen) Samstagmorgen gab es einen US-Luftangriff – der das Krankenhaus der Ärzte ohne Grenzen (Medecin sans Frontieres, MSF)  in Kundus traf, die einzige noch funktionierende medizinische Versorgung für Traumapatienten. Mindestens drei MSF-Mitarbeiter sind tot, viele werden noch vermisst, wie die Organisation mitteilte:

At 2:10 AM local time on Saturday October 3, the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières’ (MSF) Trauma center in Kunduz was hit several times during sustained bombing and was very badly damaged. Three MSF staff are confirmed dead and more than 30 are unaccounted for. The medical team is working around the clock to do everything possible for the safety of patients and hospital staff. “We are deeply shocked by the attack, the killing of our staff and patients and the heavy toll it has inflicted on healthcare in Kunduz,” says Bart Janssens, MSF Director of Operations. “We do not yet have the final casualty figures, but our medical team are providing first aid and treating the injured patients and MSF personnel and accounting for the deceased. We urge all parties to respect the safety of health facilities and staff.”

Nach Angaben des US-Militärs galt der Luftangriff in Selbstverteidigung einzelnen gegnerischen Kämpfern. Aus einem Bericht der New York Times:

The United States military, in a statement, confirmed the 2:15 a.m. airstrike, saying it had been targeting individuals “who were threatening the force” and that “there may have been collateral damage to a nearby medical facility.”

Ein Video, das die Schäden am Gebäude zeigt: (Direktlink: Targeting individuals und sustained bombing klingt mir erst mal nach einem gravierenden Widerspruch. Mal sehen, was dazu noch kommt. Nachtrag: Nach einem Bericht des Guardian hatte die Organisation sowohl der NATO als auch dem US-Militär und den Afghanen die exakten Koordinaten ihrer Klinik mitgeteilt – um genau solche Kollateralschäden zu vermeiden:

It seems the US forces and their Afghan partners should have been fully aware of the location of the MSF hospital. During the past week’s fighting, MSF sent out press releases, describing how their hospital staff found themselves on the frontline. In addition, MSF also distributed an email to a range of recipients, including Nato, the US military, and the Afghan ministry of defence with the the exact coordinates of their hospital, the group’s country representative, Guilhem Molinie, told the Guardian.

Das Internationale Kommitee vom Roten Kreuz dazu:

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is deeply shocked by the bombing of the MSF hospital in Kunduz, and strongly condemns such violence against patients, medical workers and facilities. Following Medecins Sans Frontieres’ confirmation of the bombing of the Trauma Center in Kunduz, in which three MSF staff died, Jean-Nicolas Marti, Head of the ICRC delegation in Afghanistan, said: ““This is an appalling tragedy. Such attacks against health workers and facilities undermine the capacity of humanitarian organizations to assist the Afghan people at a time when they most urgently need it.” (…) Two ICRC medical staff had been helping at the hospital since the fighting erupted in Kunduz on 28 September. They were not harmed in the attack. The ICRC reiterates its calls on all parties to the conflict to ensure the safety of the civilian population, medical staff and facilities. Under International Humanitarian Law (IHL), the civilian population, medical personnel, ambulances and medical facilities must be respected and protected in all circumstances, and the work of medical personnel must be facilitated.

Nachtrag 2: Ein interessanter Hinweis, der sicherlich noch eine Rolle spielen wird: Nach Angaben afghanischer Kollegen hat der Sprecher des afghanischen Innenministeriums darauf hingewiesen, dass es Indizien gegeben habe, Taliban-Kämpfer hätten sich in der Klinik verstecken wollen. Wenn das so stimmt, deutet das nicht mehr auf einen Kollateralschaden, sondern auf einen gezielten Angriff hin.

Die Arbeit der Ärzte geht dennoch weiter:

Nachtrag 3: Laut MSF hielten die Angriffe an, auch nachdem die Organisation sowohl den USA als auch den Afghanen mitgeteilt hatte, dass das Krankenhaus bombardiert wurde, meldet der Guardian:

MSF said nine of its staff members were killed during the bombing on Saturday morning and another 37 were wounded, including 19 staff. The group emphasised that those numbers were likely to rise. “There are many patients and staff who remain unaccounted for. The numbers keep growing as we develop a clearer picture of the aftermath of this horrific bombing,” MSF said in a statement. MSF also confirmed the Guardian’s previous reporting that the organisation had shared GPS coordinates of its medical facilities on Kunduz with Nato and the US military. MSF also said the bombing of their hospital continued for 30 minutes after American and Afghan officials had been made aware that it was under attack. (…) “The bombing continued for more than 30 minutes after American and Afghan military officials in Kabul and Washington were first informed. MSF urgently seeks clarity on exactly what took place and how this terrible event could have happened.”


Nachtrag 4: Infos eines Kollegen aus Afghanistan. Die ein wenig weiter verwirren – allerdings: auch das wäre noch keine Rechtfertigung für anhaltende Luftangriffe. Wenn es überhaupt stimmt:

und unabhängig vom Luftschlag klingen andere Nachrichten auch nicht so gut:

Nachtrag 5: (Wie in den Kommentaren schon erwähnt) Die Schüsse, die (auch?) die MSF-Klinik trafen, wurden offensichtlich von einer speziell umgebauten C-130-Maschine abgefeuert, die zur Unterstützung von Spezialkräften eingesetzt wird – aus der Washington Post:

A U.S. military official, speaking on condition of anonymity to speak freely, said U.S. special forces soldiers were on the ground advising Afghan special forces. The official said that the U.S. troops detected incoming fire from the Taliban, so an AC-130 gunship was authorized to return fire, at an area that was apparently close to the hospital. (…)
The AC-130 gunship, commonly known as the Spectre, is a favorite of special operation forces. It has an ability to stay above a target for long amounts of time and carries a number of weapons, including a 105mm cannon that is specially mounted to be fired from the air.

Und die Zahl der Opfer steigt weiter:

Nachtrag 6: Stellungnahme von US-Verteidigungsminister Ashton Carter:

Overnight I learned of a tragic incident involving a Doctors without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, that came under fire. The area has been the scene of intense fighting the last few days. U.S. forces in support of Afghan Security Forces were operating nearby, as were Taliban fighters.
While we are still trying to determine exactly what happened, I want to extend my thoughts and prayers to everyone affected.
A full investigation into the tragic incident is underway in coordination with the Afghan government. At this difficult moment, we will continue to work with our Afghan partners to try and end the ongoing violence in and around Kunduz.

und aus einer aktuellen Stellungnahme von Ärzte ohne Grenzen:

The international medical organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) condemns in the strongest possible terms the horrific aerial bombing of its hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. Twelve staff members and at least seven patients, including three children, were killed; 37 people were injured including 19 staff members. This attack constitutes a grave violation of International Humanitarian Law.
All indications currently point to the bombing being carried out by international Coalition forces. MSF demands a full and transparent account from the Coalition regarding its aerial bombing activities over Kunduz on Saturday morning. MSF also calls for an independent investigation of the attack to ensure maximum transparency and accountability. (…)
From 2:08 AM until 3:15 AM local time today, MSF’s trauma hospital in Kunduz was hit by a series of aerial bombing raids at approximately 15 minute intervals. The main central hospital building, housing the intensive care unit, emergency rooms, and physiotherapy ward, was repeatedly hit very precisely during each aerial raid, while surrounding buildings were left mostly untouched.
“The bombs hit and then we heard the plane circle round,” said Heman Nagarathnam, MSF head of programs in northern Afghanistan. “There was a pause, and then more bombs hit. This happened again and again. When I made it out from the office, the main hospital building was engulfed in flames. Those people that could had moved quickly to the building’s two bunkers to seek safety. But patients who were unable to escape burned to death as they lay in their beds.”
The bombing took place despite the fact that MSF had provided the GPS coordinates of the trauma hospital to Coalition and Afghan military and civilian officials as recently as Tuesday, September 29, to avoid that the hospital be hit. As is routine practice for MSF in conflict areas, MSF had communicated the exact location of the hospital to all parties to the conflict.

Nachtrag 7: Die Menschenrechtsorganisation Human Rights Watch hat aus Anlass des Angriffs auf das Krankenhaus eine Übersicht über die Bestimmungen des Humanitären Völkerrechts zusammengestellt. Die Aussagen in Bezug auf medizinische Einrichtungen:

Medical units are civilian objects that have special protections under the laws of war. They include hospitals, clinics, medical centers, and similar facilities, whether military or civilian. While other presumptively civilian structures become military objectives if they are being used for a military purpose, hospitals lose their protection from attack only if they are being used, outside their humanitarian function, to commit “acts harmful to the enemy.”
Several types of acts do not constitute “acts harmful to the enemy,” such as the presence of armed guards, or when small arms from the wounded are found in the hospital. Even if military forces misuse a hospital to store weapons or shelter able-bodied combatants, the attacking force must issue a warning to cease this misuse, setting a reasonable time limit for it to end, and attacking only after such a warning has gone unheeded.

Letzter Nachtrag in diesem Thread: Stellungnahme von US-Präsident Barack Obama:

On behalf of the American people, I extend my deepest condolences to the medical professionals and other civilians killed and injured in the tragic incident at a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz. The Department of Defense has launched a full investigation, and we will await the results of that inquiry before making a definitive judgment as to the circumstances of this tragedy. I have asked the Department of Defense to keep me apprised of the investigation and expect a full accounting of the facts and circumstances. Michelle and I offer our thoughts and prayers to all of the civilians affected by this incident, their families, and loved ones. We will continue to work closely with President Ghani, the Afghan government, and our international partners to support the Afghan National Defense and Security forces as they work to secure their country.