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The US will pay compensation for those killed and injured in an air strike on Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, northern Afghanistan, the Pentagon says.

At least 22 hospital staff and patients were killed in the bombing in the city of Kunduz last week.

The US has said the strike was a mistake and that it was trying to target Taliban insurgents.

MSF has called the attack a war crime and called for an international committee to investigate.Kunduz hospital bombing Afghanistan

Those injured in the strike and the families of those killed are eligible for “condolence payments” from the US.

“The Department of Defense believes it is important to address the consequences of the tragic incident at the MSF hospital,” a Pentagon spokesman said.

Funds will also be made available to repair the hospital, the Pentagon added.

President Barack Obama has apologized to the MSF president and the Afghan leader for the incident.

MSF is still trying to trace more than 30 staff and patients who remain unaccounted for.


Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) has demanded an independent inquiry by an international body into the airstrikes that hit its hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz.

At least 22 people, including MSF staff, were killed in attacks the charity blames on US-led NATO forces.

MSF said it was making the call for an inquiry “under the clear presumption that a war crime has been committed”.

The US military says it is investigating the incident.

Twelve MSF staff members and 10 patients were killed when the hospital was hit as Afghan government forces, backed by the US-led coalition, battled to retake the northern city from Taliban fighters.

Dozens were injured and the hospital severely damaged by a series of airstrikes lasting more than an hour from 02:00 local time on Saturday morning, October 3.

Photo RT

Photo RT

On its Twitter feed, MSF said: “The hospital was repeatedly and precisely hit during each aerial raid, while the rest of the compound was left mostly untouched.

“Not a single member of our staff reported any fighting inside the hospital compound prior to the US air strike on Saturday morning.”

Afghan troops are now reported to have recaptured most of Kunduz, six days after it was seized by the Taliban.

MSF said it was pulling most of its staff out of the area but some medical staff was treating the wounded at other clinics.

“The MSF hospital is not functional anymore. All critical patients have been referred to other health facilities and no MSF staff are working in our hospital,” a spokeswoman for the charity told AFP.

“I can’t confirm at this stage whether our Kunduz trauma centre will reopen, or not,” she added.

MSF says the hospital was a lifeline for thousands in the city and in northern Afghanistan.

President Barack Obama has expressed condolences and says the US has launched a “full investigation” into the incident which happened on Saturday. He said he would await the results of the inquiry before making a definitive judgement.

The US military said a strike targeting Taliban in Kunduz may have caused “collateral damage”, and that the results of a multinational preliminary investigation would be available “within days”.

“Additionally, the US military has opened a formal investigation… to conduct a thorough and comprehensive inquiry,” it added.

The UN called the strikes “inexcusable and possibly even criminal”, with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon calling for a thorough and impartial investigation.

Doctors Without Borders has warned some mandatory Ebola quarantine measures in the US are having a “chilling effect” on its work.

The charity group has said it may shorten some assignments to West Africa as a result of recent state restrictions.

One of the charity’s volunteers, nurse Kaci Hickox, has defied orders by the state of Maine that she remain quarantined in her house after being in Sierra Leone.

There have been nearly 14,000 cases worldwide, but only nine in the US.

Doctors Without Borders – also known as Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) – has 270 international and 3,000 locally hired staff in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

But the foreign workers now have additional concerns when heading home, said executive director Sophie Delaunay.

“There is rising anxiety and confusion among staff members in the field over what they may face when they return home upon completion of their assignments in West Africa,” she told Reuters news agency.

Some health workers are delaying returning to the US and staying in Europe for 21 days, she added, “in order to avoid facing rising stigmatization at home and possible quarantine”.

Some people are being discouraged by their families from returning to the field, she added.

Doctors Without Borders has 270 international and 3,000 locally hired staff in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone

Doctors Without Borders has 270 international and 3,000 locally hired staff in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone

Lawyers for Kaci Hickox, a nurse recently returned to the US from treating Ebola patients in Africa, have vowed to fight a court order that would enforce a 21-day quarantine.

Maine Governor Paul LePage said the state was willing to agree to arrangements that would have allowed Hickox to go for walks, runs and bicycle rides, but not allow her to go to public places.

The governor said discussions with Kaci Hickox, 33, had failed.

She says her freedom should not be limited when she is perfectly healthy.

People are not infectious until they show symptoms, usually a fever.

Another worker, Dr. Craig Spencer, travelled around New York City before he fell ill. He is currently in isolation in hospital.

After his case was announced, New York, New Jersey and other states ordered the mandatory quarantine of healthcare workers who had been exposed to Ebola patients.

President Barack Obama has warned that overly restrictive measures could discourage volunteering in West Africa.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the actions of US states ordering medics to be isolated.

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Medecins Sans Frontieres reports hospitals it supports in Syria treated about 3,600 patients with “neurotoxic symptoms”, of whom 355 have died.

MSF said the patients had arrived in three hospitals in the Damascus governorate on August 21 – when opposition activists say chemical attacks were launched against rebels.

But MSF says it cannot “scientifically confirm” the use of chemical weapons.

Both sides in the conflict accuse each other of using them.

MSF says staff at the hospitals described a large number of patients arriving in the space of less than three hours with symptoms including convulsions, extreme salivation, contracted pupils and sight and respiratory problems.

The charity said many were treated with atropine, a drug administered to those with “neurotoxic symptoms”.

Medecins Sans Frontieres reports hospitals it supports in Syria treated about 3,600 patients with neurotoxic symptoms

Medecins Sans Frontieres reports hospitals it supports in Syria treated about 3,600 patients with neurotoxic symptoms

“MSF can neither scientifically confirm the cause of these symptoms nor establish who is responsible for the attack,” said MSF Director of Operations Bart Janssens.

“However, the reported symptoms of the patients, in addition to the epidemiological pattern of the events, characterized by the massive influx of patients in a short period of time, the origin of the patients, and the contamination of medical and first aid workers, strongly indicate mass exposure to a neurotoxic agent.

“This would constitute a violation of international humanitarian law, which absolutely prohibits the use of chemical and biological weapons.”

The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has given its latest assessment of the number of casualties from the alleged attacks.

The British-based group said it estimated that 322 had died, 54 of them children.

In the immediate aftermath, casualty figures varied widely with opposition activists saying between several hundred and more than 1,000 had been killed.

MSF’s disclosure adds to mounting allegations that chemical weapons were used in suburbs to the east of Damascus and in an area to the south-west on August 21.

Unverified video footage posted soon afterwards shows civilians, many of them children, dead or suffering from what appear to be horrific symptoms consistent with a chemical attack.

Rebels and opposition activists accuse forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad of carrying out such attacks.

But state TV accuses the rebels, saying barrels of chemical weapons were found as troops entered previously rebel-held districts.

Soldiers had “suffocated” as they tried to enter Jobar, one of the towns in the Ghouta district around Damascus.

Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) is closing all its programmes in Somalia after 22 years working in the war-torn country.

MSF said in a statement that the decision had been taken because of “extreme attacks on its staff”.

The charity said armed groups and civilian leaders increasingly “support, tolerate or condone the killing, assaulting, and abducting of humanitarian aid workers”.

More than 1,500 staff have provided a range of services across Somalia.

MSF is closing all its programmes in Somalia after 22 years working in the war-torn country

MSF is closing all its programmes in Somalia after 22 years working in the war-torn country

Unni Karunakara, MSF’s international president, said it has been one of the hardest decisions the charity has ever had to make.

Since 1991, when Somalia descended into civil war, 16 MSF workers have been killed and there had been dozens of attacks on its staff, ambulances and medical facilities, the charity said.

Last month, two of its Spanish members of staff who were kidnapped nearly two years ago and held in Somalia were freed.

“Ultimately, civilians in Somalia will pay the highest cost,” Dr. Unni Karunakara said in a statement.

“Much of the Somali population has never known the country without war or famine.

“Already receiving far less assistance than is needed, the armed groups’ targeting of humanitarian aid, and civilians leaders’ tolerance of these abuses, has effectively taken away what little access to medical care is available to the Somali people.”

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