Swedes: US troops storm Afghan Hospital

( – promoted by mishima)

(Cross-posted in OrangeSwedish Charity: US troops stormed through Afghan Hospital )

A Swedish charity that runs a hospital in Afghanistan is accusing the US military of storming into the hospital, breaking doors, and tying up staff while searching for militants.

KABUL (Reuters) – U.S. troops burst into a Swedish charity-run hospital in Afghanistan and tied up patients’ relatives and staff, the charity said on Sunday, in what it called a breach of deals between the military and aid groups.

The Swedish Committee for Afghanistan has issued a press release.

On Wednesday evening September 2 at 10 pm coalition vehicles drove up at SCA’s Hospital in Shaniz, Wardak province along the main highway from Kabul to Ghazni. They entered the hospital compound, reportedly without giving any reason or justification for entering the hospital compound. They searched all rooms, even bathrooms, male and female wards. Rooms that were locked were forcefully entered and the doors of the malnutrition ward and the ultrasound ward were broken by force to gain entry. Upon entering the hospital they tied up four employees and two family members of patients at the hospital. SCA staffs as well as patients (even those in beds) were forced out of rooms/wards throughout the search.

According to the SCA press release, upon leaving the hospital, the military instructed the staff “that on receiving any patient that could be an insurgent the hospital staff has to report to the Coalition Forces who would then determine if the hospital would be permitted or not of treating such patient.”

This is simply not acceptable. It is not only a clear violation of globally recognized humanitarian principles about the sanctity of health facilities and staff in areas of conflict but also a clear breach of the civil-military agreement between NGOs and ISAF. We demand guarantees from the IMF command that such violations will not be repeated and that this is made clear to commanders in the field. SCA can not and will not tolerate this kind of treatment by the IMF. Nor is the SCA bound by any orders from IMF regarding to whom treatment can be given” says Anders Fange, Country Director, SCA.

SCA’s spokesperson added:

“There is the Hippocratic oath. If anyone is wounded, sick or in need of treatment … if they are a human being, then they are received and treated as they should be by international law.”

The US is investigating:

Navy public affairs officer Lt. Cmdr. Christine Sidenstricker confirmed that the hospital was searched last week but had no other details. She said the military is looking into the incident.

“We are investigating and we take allegations like this seriously,” she said. “Complaints like this are rare.”

The rules for medical facilities are clear:

U.N. spokesman Aleem Siddique said he was not aware of the details of the particular incident, but that international law requires the military to avoid operations in medical facilities.

“The rules are that medical facilities are not combat areas. It’s unacceptible for a medical facility to become an area of active combat operations,” he said. “The only exception to that under the Geneva Conventions is if a risk is being posed to people.”

In light of stories like this one, and the recent reports that Afghan civilians were wounded during a bomb attack by the US coaltion forces, I think Progressives should take it upon themselves to pay more attention to this war and how it’s conducted.

As someone who personally wrote a lot about the occupation of Iraq under Bush, I think it’s important for us to know how US incursions are being conducted, no matter which party is in charge in the US.

U.S. Rear Admiral Gregory J. Smith, listens to his translator during his visiting with an Afghan man, Wazir Gul, who injured by Friday’s NATO airstrike in Kunduz province. AP


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  1. that the media isn’t.

    What’s our goal in Afghanistan? What’s our exit strategy?

    By what measure do we gauge our success?

  2. 2002 – U.S. Special Forces today raided a hospital where six al Qaeda gunmen have been holed up for nearly two months.

    U.S. troops supported by helicopters entered the walled compound of the Mir Wais Hospital here at about 3 a.m. The hospital resonated with the sound of two explosions and gunfire, but reporters were kept away from the scene by roadblocks.

    2003 AMMAN, Jordan – Bruised and bleeding, in need of medical care, the Americans stranded in Iraq’s western desert approached the mud-brick town and found the hospital destroyed by bombs.

    “Why? Why?” a doctor demanded of them. “Why did you Americans bomb our children’s hospital?” Scores of Iraqi townspeople crowded around.

    2005 – US occupation soldiers have conducted simultaneous military operations in cities across the west of Iraq. In May-June 2005, the heaviest of these attacks took place in the cities of Hadeetha and Al Qiem. These cities and surrounding villages are home to an estimated 300,000 people.

    Eyewitnesses and medical personnel in the area have described how US soldiers prevented food and medication reaching Hadeetha and Al Qiem and targeted the cities’ two main hospitals, medical staff, and ambulances.

    US soldiers violated the Geneva Conventions and international law by preventing civilians from accessing healthcare. Eyewitnesses reported at least one patient being shot dead in his bed in a hospital ward. Doctors were prevented from assisting patients and civilians in need. A number of  doctors and medical personnel were killed in the attack and others were arrested by US forces in the hospital. They were later released, along with the hospital manager who was detained for two days.

    2005 – Two hospitals in Ramadi, about 110 km west of capital Baghdad on the Euphrates river, are being raided regularly by the U.S. military, doctors say.

    “The maternity hospital and the general hospital in our city are the two biggest hospitals,” the official said. “These have both been raided twice a week by the American forces with the excuse that they are searching for militants. They (the U.S. soldiers) break every door which is closed, play with our records and sometimes even detain some of our staff. The Americans are not adhering to any laws.”

    2006 – FALLUJAH – Iraqi doctors and medical staff are outraged over yet another U.S. military raid at Fallujah General Hospital.

    The raid followed a roadside bombing Dec. 7 where four Iraqi policemen were killed and two civilians injured. The injured were taken to Fallujah General Hospital.

    Shortly after this attack, a U.S. Marine who was on a patrol in the city was wounded by a gunshot.

    “U.S. soldiers replied to the source of fire then headed straight to the general hospital across the (Euphrates) river hoping that they had shot and injured the sniper,” an eyewitness told IPS.

    American soldiers seem to have some imagination to think wounded fighters might go to that so-called hospital,” a retired surgeon told IPS. “We know that they do not trust that place because of the continuous raids by the U.S., and lack of everything in that hospital.” The hospital is functioning at minimal capacity due to lack of medicines and equipment, the surgeon said.

    Eyewitnesses at Fallujah General Hospital said U.S. soldiers raided the hospital “as if it were a military target.”

    “We panicked at the way they entered, kicking open doors and blasting locked ones,” a nurse told IPS. “A doctor tried to tell them he had keys for the locked doors, but they pointed their guns to his face. Then they told us to go out of the building and they kept us under guard in the garden until the early hours of next morning.”

    I could go on, but you get the point.

  3. the same as it’s always been to reign terror on the countries we see fit to call as rogue or terrorist, or a threat to our geopolitical supremacy… And we have the nerve to call them insurgents/terrorists or call this nation building and a war of necessity. Exit strategies are not in the picture as invaders don’t leave until defeated. The Afghans have a long history of shaking off those who have conducted incursions. Were the latest in a long line of thugs, that wanted to control The Silk Road.    

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