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Kunduz hospital survivors say US airstrike was intentional

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The photo shows the damaged hospital run by the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) medical charity following a US airstrike in the northern city of Kunduz, October 13, 2015.

Dozens of the survivors of a deadly US airstrike against a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in Afghanistan say the October attack was intentional, and aimed at destroying the structure.

Tens of survivors interviewed by the Associated Press said the October 3 raid on the hospital in the city of Kunduz, which lasted for more than an hour, was intentionally prolonged.

“It was like they were determined to kill us all and that nobody would survive. It was like doomsday, nothing I could ever imagine,” Anayatullah Nazari, a survivor of the attack said.

The survivors said that during the attack, which killed about 30 people, US planes were “flying in low and slow,” with enough generator-powered light to judge the situation at the hospital.

A nurse, who had stepped out for fresh air before the attack started said one of her colleagues was chased by a US aircraft.

“He ran from building to building but the plane was following him. Two other colleagues, Khalid and Tahseel, were also followed by the plane. Tahseel was hit by the guns fired from the plane and died. Khalid was injured,” the nurse added.

According to the MSF, the hospital’s intensive care unit, emergency room, operating theaters and outpatient department, as well as X-ray, laboratory, physiotherapy, mental health and sterilization departments were “all were destroyed in this wave after wave of strikes.”

The survivors added that many of the victims in the hospital either bled to death after losing body parts, burned or were decapitated by shrapnel.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) staff hold stretchers with crosshairs on them during a demonstration in protest at a deadly US air raid on its facility in Afghanistan, in Geneva, Switzerland, November 3, 2015. (Photo by AFP)

Some 300 patients and staff workers were present at the hospital at the time of the attack.

Many of those who managed to survive the incident said the strikes continued even though the MSF staff frantically called and messaged US military contacts in Washington, NATO’s mission in Afghanistan, and the UN’s civilian-military liaison office for humanitarian affairs in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

The Pentagon initially announced that the attack was to protect US troops engaged in a firefight with Taliban militants, but US President Barack Obama later apologized for the incident and acknowledged that it was conducted by mistake.

Earlier this month, Doctors Without Borders said it has not yet found any evidence that US fighter jets attacked the hospital by mistake, saying the raid seems to have had no purpose but to “kill and destroy.”

The MSF has called for an independent investigation into the incident.

The airstrike came just days after Taliban militants had stormed and briefly seized the city.

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