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October 05, 2015

Doctors Without Borders Leaving Afghan City After Airstrike

Doctors Without Borders said Sunday that it is withdrawing from the Afghan city of Kunduz following an airstrike that killed 10 patients and 12 staff members at a hospital run by the international medical charity, The New York Times writes. The organization is seeking an independent investigation of the bombing, which came amid intense fighting between U.S. and Afghan troops and Taliban last week.

The Pentagon said American warplanes may have inadvertently hit the hospital during military action and launched a review of the attack. Afghan officials also promised an investigation but defended the strike, saying Taliban fighters were inside the hospital shooting at American soldiers. In a statement, Doctors Without Borders said it was "disgusted" by authorities' seeking justification for the bombing and called for an outside review.

The pullout leaves Kunduz, the scene of heavy fighting since at least 2009, with scant medical care. Doctors Without Borders was one of the last providers of medical services in the region, and its hospital was the only free trauma-care facility in northern Afghanistan. The charity said it treated more than 22,000 patients in Kunduz last year and performed some 5,900 surgeries.