U.S. Airstrikes Destroyed a Busy Afghanistan Trauma Hospital. Six Years Later, It Is Reopening.


WASHINGTON—The international aid group Doctors Without Borders is reopening a trauma hospital in northern Afghanistan, six years after a U.S. airstrike destroyed the building and killed more than 40 people, the organization said.

The hospital has been rebuilt at a new location in the city of Kunduz, which has come under heavy attack from the Taliban in recent weeks. The hospital is expected to start operating in the coming days, close to the front lines.

The hospital was destroyed in 2015 in an attack by an AC-130 gunship during a battle in the city center between Taliban insurgents and U.S. Special Forces and Afghan commandos. The 42 people killed in the strike included 14 staff and four caretakers.

Patients burned to death in their beds, while the warplane overhead fired on survivors fleeing the wreckage. Surviving doctors and nurses tried to save their colleagues with emergency surgery in the kitchen, without anesthetic.

After initially denying it had deliberately struck the hospital, the U.S. military ultimately acknowledged that the strike had been called in by a U.S. Special Forces team on the ground who believed they were targeting a Taliban command and control center.

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