Charity group lashes out at U.S. troops for raiding Afghan hospital
A Swedish aid group has accused American troops of storming a hospital in central Afghanistan, tying up staff, and breaking down doors under the pretense of rooting out insurgents.
The hospital is located southwest of Kabul. It’s one of several operated by the charity, the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan. Details emerging suggest the raid was forceful and terrifying.
“They tied the hands of four of our guards. They forced their way into two locked rooms, broke down the doors,” Anders Fange, the charity’s Country Director reported.
The US soldiers were reportedly searching the hospital for wounded insurgents, bursting into male and female wards. They then demanded that the hospital administration inform military officials of any incoming patients seeking treatment if they look like insurgents.
The raiding military said they were investigating the issue, but doctors on site stressed the incident was an unacceptable violation of humanitarian principles.
“It’s a violation of internationally recognized principals about the sanctity of health facilities and health staff,” Anders Fange told RT.
While executing the search, the troops managed not only to rough up the staff and patients, but they also offended the Afghanis on a personal level.
“They removed the burkas from the faces of the women. They do not care about the Afghan culture and the traditions of Afghans,” said Dr. Ahmad Farid, a spokesman for the country’s Ministry of Public Health.
The security forces that stormed the hospital didn’t do any good to the NATO mission’s image in the country and the incident is an outrage, says Dr. Farid, adding:
“If the international military forces are not respecting the sanctity of health facilities, then there is no reason for the Taliban to do it either. Then these clinics and hospitals – they will become targets, military targets, and that will be very bad, mainly for the people of Afghanistan, but also our staff.”
Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama is sending an additional 20,000 troops to Afghanistan. It’s a move many believe will be counterproductive:
“This new increased military presence is not helping. People are scared of going out and of doing normal activities because of such a heavy military presence,” commented Marco Garatti, Project Coordinator for an Italian Charity in Afghanistan.
Washington’s plan for Afghanistan is the same as the one in Iraq: to win the hearts and minds of the people. But with no respect for international law and the continued physical and emotional abuse of the Afghanis, President Barack Obama’s plan, is poised to fail.