At least 16 people have been killed, following a US airstrike, on a hospital ran by Medecins Sans Frontieres, in Afghanistan.
An airstrike hit a hospital run by Medecins Sans Frontieres in the Afghan city of Kunduz on Saturday, killing at least 16 people in what the US military called possible “collateral damage” in the battle to oust Taliban insurgents.
Frantic MSF staff phoned military officials at NATO in Kabul and Washington after the attack, and bombs continued to rain down near the medical facility for nearly an hour, one official from the aid group said.
At least 37 people were wounded and many patients and staff still missing, it added.
The US military promised to investigate the incident, which could renew concerns over the use of its air power in the conflict.
Afghan government forces backed by US air power have fought to drive the Taliban out of the northern provincial capital since the militants seized it six days ago, in the biggest victory of their near 14-year insurgency.
One resident, Khodaidad, told Reuters the Taliban had been using the hospital buildings for cover during the fighting on Friday.
“I could hear sounds of heavy gunfire, explosions and airplanes throughout the night,” he added. “There were several huge explosions and it sounded like the roof was falling on me,” he added.
US forces launched an airstrike at 2.15 a.m. (22:45 BST), spokesman, Col. Brian Tribus, said in a statement.
“The strike may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility … This incident is under investigation,” he added.
At the aid group’s bombed-out hospital, one wall of a building had collapsed, scattering fragments of glass and wooden door frames, and three rooms were ablaze, said Saad Mukhtar, director of public health in Kunduz.
“Thick black smoke could be seen rising from some of the rooms … The fighting is still going on, so we had to leave.”