Military Medical Ethics – Scenario Collection

Attack on MSF hospital in Kunduz

Page ID: 61
Last updated: 20 Jul, 2017
Page ID: 61
Last updated: 20 Jul, 2017
Revision: 1
Comments: 0

"In 2011, MSF decided to open a trauma hospital in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, to provide high-quality, free surgical care to victims of all types of trauma. In that region, severely injured people were forced to make long and dangerous journeys to the capital Kabul or Pakistan to receive the care they needed. MSF teams converted shipping containers into a functional hospital equipped with 55 beds, an emergency room, two operating theatres, an intensive care unit, as well as X-ray and laboratory facilities.

Starting in 2012, massive construction work transformed the old Spinzar building into a 92 bed high-level trauma hospital. In 2013, medical teams soon began to perform complex internal fixation procedures. The combination of the expansion plus the need to maintain a high quality of care meant lots of recruitment and lots of training.

In only a few years, the hospital had become a life-line for people in Kunduz and the surrounding provinces.

On 28 September 2015, the MSF hospital suddenly found itself in the middle of a quickly shifting frontline when the armed opposition launched a take-over of Kunduz city. The team was overwhelmed with hundreds of wounded patients.

Starting at 2:08am on Saturday 3 October, a United States AC-130 gunship fired 211 shells on the main hospital building where patients were sleeping in their beds or being operated on in the operating theatre. Fourteen of our colleagues, 24 of our patients and four of their caretakers were killed in the attack. Thirty seven people were injured."

Questions for the discussion of this scenario

1. Imagine that in the hospital a big number of insurgents was treated. Does this justify the bombardment?
2. Imagine that in the hospital a wounded "high-value target person" was treated. Does this justify the bombardment?

Source: Report of MSF, published online http://kunduz.msf.org/ [20 July 2017]

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Page ID: 61
Last updated: 20 Jul, 2017
Revision: 1
Comments: 0
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