The Afghan Ministry of Defence said in a statement that Taliban fighters had attacked the hospital and were using the building “as a human shield”.
The news comes as the medical charity group Doctors Without Borders (MSF) announced that it had withdrawn from the city, after an apparent U.S. air strike that killed 13 of its staff and 10 patients.
A medical aid group on Sunday struck back at allegations that Taliban fighters were operating in an Afghan hospital that was bombarded by US forces, leaving at least 22 dead on Saturday.
The US and Afghan government have vowed to investigate the incident and a USA military spokesman says it is possible that the hospital came under fire from U.S.-NATO coalition aircraft. The strike took place “in the vicinity of a Doctors Without Borders medical facility” in Kunduz, it said.
“All critical patients have been referred to other health facilities and no MSF staff are working in our hospital”, said Kate Stegeman, the communications manager for MSF.
It said Afghan and coalition troops were fully aware of the exact location of the hospital, having been given Global Positioning System co-ordinates of a facility which had been providing care for four years.
“Twelve staff members and at least seven patients, including three children, were killed; 37 people were injured”.
“The seriousness of the incident is underlined by the fact that, if established as deliberate in a court of law, an airstrike on a hospital may amount to a war crime”, he said.
But MSF’s stokes said: “Relying only on an internal investigation by a party to the conflict would be wholly insufficient”.
“Additionally, the USA military has opened a formal investigation, headed by a General Officer, to conduct a thorough and comprehensive inquiry”, it said in a statement.
His predecessor Hamid Karzai fell out with his backers in Washington in part over the number of civilians killed by USA strikes. The insurgents have had the city encircled for months, and overran it in a surprise assault that embarrassed the US-backed Afghan government and called into question the competence of the US-funded Afghan armed forces.
The city was taken by the Taliban nearly a week ago, and despite a counterattack by the Afghan Security Forces that began on Thursday, there has been only limited progress.
(Translated)”I want to say clearly and without any fear that the presidential palace was behind the fall of Kunduz city to the Taliban”. The MSF hospital that was a lifeline for thousands in the city said it was pulling most of its staff out of the area because the hospital was no longer functioning.
In a statement it denied any of its fighters were being treated at the MSF clinic “because the prevailing military situation of Kunduz would not allow us to admit our patients to the said hospital”.
Aminullah, a Kunduz resident, said that all of the doctors were moving to Kabul or Mazar-e-Sharif, fearing for their lives.
“MSF also calls for an independent investigation of the attack to ensure maximum transparency and accountability”, the statement farther said.