It was the instant in which an American AC-130 gunship pumped the first of 211 artillery shells into the MSF-run hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, last October 3. Horrifically wounded patients screamed for morphine. Hospital staff frantically triaged the maimed. At the end of it all, amid smouldering ruins, 42 patients, family and medical staff were dead, and 37 wounded. So why did the Americans attack? Was it anything to do with MSF’s strict neutrality policy that saw it treat wounded Taliban just like any other patients – a policy deeply resented by Afghanistan’s military? And have charity-run hospitals like MSF’s now become “fair game” in the world’s conflict zones?
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