U.S. Forces Accused of Violating Law by Invading Afghan Hospital

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

American soldiers from the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division raided a hospital last week looking for Taliban warriors, according to officials with the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, which runs the hospital and has been active in Afghanistan for 26 years. The soldiers reportedly went from room to room demanding to know if any suspected insurgents were being treated at the hospital in Shaniz, in Wardak Province. Hospital officials claimed some staff members were tied up by U.S. troops, who also broke into locked facilities such as the malnutrition ward. Before leaving, the soldiers insisted that in the future the military would decide who could be admitted to the hospital.

“This is simply not acceptable,” said Anders Fange, the country director for the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, who added the incident represented “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 nongovernmental organizations and international forces.
A U.S. Navy spokesman said the matter would be investigated, while Army Captain Jack Hanzlik, senior spokesman for Central Command (CENTCOM), said the soldiers entered the hospital in cooperation with the Afghan National Army, the Afghan National Police, and the hospital staff. “No one was tied up,” Hanzlik told Fox News. “However, one locked door was kicked in, but again with permission from the hospital.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff


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