Earlier, a USA official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a U.S. military AC-130 gunship had been operating in the area, firing at Taliban targets to provide what was essentially defensive, close-air support to ground forces.
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter pledged on Sunday a full, transparent investigation into whether the USA military could be linked to the destruction of an Afghan hospital run by aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) that killed 22 people.
“All critical patients have been referred to other health facilities and no MSF staff are working in our hospital”, said MSF’s communications manager Kate Stegeman.
“Not a single member of our staff reported any fighting inside the MSF hospital compound prior to the USA air strike on Saturday morning”, Mr Stokes said.
“Some of our medical staff have gone to work in two hospitals where a few of the wounded persons have been taken”, she said. “This happened again and again”, Nagarathnam said, according to the MSF statement.
The bombing came after Taliban insurgents overran the northern Afghan city on Monday.
The NATO-led security mission in Afghanistan said today that it had conducted a preliminary multi-national assessment of the attack and hoped to have the results in a “matter of days”.
Stokes reiterated that the main hospital building was “repeatedly and very precisely hit during each aerial raid, while the rest of the compound was left mostly untouched”.
In a statement released by the White House on Saturday, Obama offered his “deepest condolences” for what he called a “tragic incident”. So many patients have flooded in that the hospital had to put them in offices and on mattresses on the floor.
Amid accusations that USA jet fighters were responsible for what Doctors Without Borders said was a “sustained bombing” of their trauma centre in Kunduz, President Barack Obama and Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani promised investigations.
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein called for a full and transparent investigation, noting that, “if established as deliberate in a court of law, an air strike on a hospital may amount to a war crime”.
Branding the attack on the hospital in Kunduz as a “war crime”, the organisation has demanded an independent worldwide inquiry be held into the attack.
Afghan security forces were conducting house-to-house searches on Sunday, as gun battles persisted in parts of the city, said Hamdullah Danishi, acting governor of Kunduz province.
“Some people are leaving their houses to get bread or find something to eat and they get attacked”, Gulboddin said.
“The strike may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility”, spokesman U.S. Army Colonel Brian Tribus said in a statement.
Meanwhile, MWC News has learned that at least seven doctors have arrived in Kunduz from capital Kabul, to help with the patients at the regional hospital there.
Reporting from Kabul, CNN’s Nic Robertson said MSF’s real concern was one of impartiality, as well as transparency. A total of 37 people were injured, including 19 staff members, and 18 patients and caretakers.