Doctors Without Borders Tragedy


Connor Harding, Junior Staff Writer

When asked if they were familiar with the term, “collateral damage,” many Hubbard High students responded that they were; however, they had difficulty defining it.  A tragic example of this term can be seen in the recent Doctors Without Borders bombing, caused unfortunately, by air support from U. S. forces.

This tragedy occurred near Kanduz, Afghanistan, states online sources. On October 3rd, Afghan troopers were taking heavy fire from terrorist positions on buildings around the city and required immediate support from AC-130 gunships located minutes out from their position. The request for heavy fire support came from the commander of Afghani forces around 5:00 am and was immediately approved. Coordinates were rushed due to the severity of the situation, and gunships dropped high explosive rounds on all suggested areas. After a full hour of bombing, the planes withdrew, and a majority of terrorist combatants retreated. The bombing was largely considered a success by military officials until it was discovered that careless planning had caused a disaster right outside the city.

Though it was a smaller, shack-like structure, the hospital held dozens upon dozens of staff and patients wounded or sick from fighting in Kanduz. Shells landed on the eastern side of the roof, collapsing it and causing a massive fire. The remaining staff aided patients in escaping the building as it became engulfed in flames. In a matter of only a few minutes, the entire east wing collapsed due to total structural failure, and the rest of the building gave way. The death toll rose steadily over the next day as bodies were found. It now stands at 22 total killed and 37 injured. Twelve staff and ten patients died because of poorly communicated directions.

United States military officials made media appearances, formally apologizing for the loss of 27 souls due to “collateral damage”. During the report, General John Cambell of the U.S army stated that the hospital was hit accidentally, and was not an intended target for the gunships. “Friendly Fire” is a related term which explains what happens when a military force ends up harming its own. Now the whole world grieves for 12 humble and selfless doctors who were lost while helping the ill and injured outside Kanduz, Afghanistan.