Medical aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres on Saturday said it gave the coordinates of the Afghan hospital hit by an airstrike that killed at least nine people to Afghan and US forces several times, to avoid being caught in crossfire.
“Precise location of our Kunduz hospital communicated to all parties on multiple occasions over past months,” as well as earlier this week, the group said in a message on social media website Twitter.
A suspected US air strike on a hospital in Kunduz left nine Doctors Without Borders staff dead and dozens of others seriously wounded, the charity said, days after Taliban insurgents overran the northern Afghan city.
The MSF facility is seen as a key medical lifeline in the region and has been running “beyond capacity” during recent fighting that saw the Taliban seize control of the northern provincial capital for several days.
The strike early Saturday left the building engulfed in flames, with photos posted by MSF on Twitter showing shocked and dazed staff in the aftermath of the bombing.
“At 2:10am local time… the MSF trauma centre in Kunduz was hit several times during sustained bombing and was very badly damaged,” it said in a statement.
“It is with deep sadness that we confirm so far the death of nine MSF staff during the bombing… 37 people were seriously wounded… There are many patients and staff who remain unaccounted for.”
Kunduz has seen heavy fighting since Taliban insurgents overran it on Monday. It was the first major city to be captured by militants since 2001.
MSF said some 105 patients and their caregivers, as well as more than 80 international and local MSF staff were in the hospital at the time of the bombing.
The charity had stated Friday it was treating 59 children at the facility.
NATO conceded that US forces may have been behind the strike.