Thursday, March 09, 2017

Deadly Attack on Afghan Hospital a War Crime - Patricia Gossman

Today’s deliberate attack on a military hospital in Kabul is a war crime – the latest incident targeting patients, healthcare personnel, and medical facilities in Afghanistan.

An armed group affiliated with the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) reportedly claimed responsibility for the day-long attack on the Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan hospital, the main treatment center for wounded Afghan soldiers. Following a suicide attack on the building, gun battles continued for several hours, and hospital staff trapped in the building reported that patients who could not escape remained in their beds. Some of the gunmen were dressed as doctors, according to reports. At least 30 people were killed and dozens wounded.

The International Committee of the Red Cross in Kabul denounced the attack as a “heinous crime” with “no justification possible.”

International humanitarian law, or the laws of war, applicable to the armed conflict in Afghanistan protects patients, including wounded soldiers, and all medical personnel from attack. Hospitals and other medical facilities are also protected from attack unless they are being used for offensive military operations. Commanders and combatants who willfully violate these protections are responsible for war crimes. Fighters who may have dressed as doctors would be committing the war crime of perfidy – feigning civilian status to carry out an attack. - Read More, HRW - Afghanistan

Deadly Attack on Afghan Hospital a War Crime

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