Staff who work for Médecins Sans Frontières — better known in America as Doctors Without Borders — are heroes. They treat diseases like Ebola on the frontlines. They go into crisis zones with compassion.
Now at least 12 of them are dead.
A MSF hospital was left in flames after a U.S.-led bombing strike in the Afghan city of Kunduz on Saturday. Beyond the 12 dead, another 19 staff were critically wounded, and other workers were still missing, the organization said in a statement. At least seven patients are also dead, including three children, and more than a dozen others are wounded.
The U.S. military confirmed that they had been conducting bombing runs in the area, and “there may have been collateral damage to a nearby medical facility.”
But according to MSF staff who survived the attack, there was no reason for the bombing: There were no Taliban in the area; hospital workers had shared the precise coordinates of their facility with the military; and the bombing continued for 30 minutes after MSF informed Afghan and U.S. military that the hospital was being struck.
— MSF International (@MSF) October 3, 2015
If those charges are true, then this is obviously a colossal tragedy — one that might not get as much attention in America as it should, because it happened thousands of miles away.
These deaths will reverberate through the global community. Bombing a MSF hospital is a disaster for U.S. foreign policy, certainly. And it’s beyond awful for public health efforts.
It’s already perilous to work for Doctors Without Borders. In the past year, MSF workers have died because they fell ill while treating Ebola in West Africa. Others have been captured as hostages, killed by robbers, and targeted by warlords.
They shouldn’t be dying by the hand of the U.S. military too.
MSF isn’t perfect; the organization has made some questionable moral choices to get access to certain conflict areas.
But we need doctors who are willing to go where no one else wants to step foot. We need to protect them.
And we need to be held accountable when we’ve utterly failed them.
This article was written by Dan Diamond from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.