A U.S. air strike hit a hospital run by Medecins Sans Frontieres in the Afghan city of Kunduz on Saturday, killing at least nine people in what the U.S. military called possible “collateral damage” in the battle to oust Taliban insurgents. The bombing continued for 30 minutes after staff raised the alarm to U.S. and Afghan military officials, the aid group said. At least 37 people were wounded and many are still missing after the bombing, which will renew concerns over the use of U.S. air power in the conflict in America’s longest war. Former President Hamid Karzai fell out with his backers in Washington over the number of civilians killed by bombs.U.S. forces launched an air strike at 2.15 a.m. (1745 ET), the spokesman, Col. Brian Tribus, said in a statement. “The strike may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility,” he added. “This incident is under investigation.”At the aid group’s bombed-out hospital, one wall of a building had collapsed, scattering fragments of glass and wooden door frames, and three rooms were ablaze, said Saad Mukhtar, director of public health in Kunduz.”Thick black smoke could be seen rising from some of the rooms,” Mukhtar said after a visit to the hospital. “The fighting is still going on, so we had to leave.”Fighting has raged around the northern provincial capital of Kunduz as government forces backed by American air power seek to drive out Taliban militants who seized the city six days ago in the biggest victory of their nearly 14-year insurgency.The U.S. military unleashed twelve air strikes on the city this week, most on the city’s outskirts. The overnight strike on the hospital was only the second in a central area, the military said.

Despite government claims to have taken control of the area, a bitter contest with the Taliban continues. Afghan security forces fought their way into Kunduz three days ago, but battles continue in many places, with Taliban hiding in people’s homes.”TRAGIC INCIDENT”Many patients and staff remain missing after the attack which happened when almost 200 patients and employees were in the hospital, the only one in the region that can deal with major injuries, said Medecins Sans Frontieres, which is based in Switzerland.”We are deeply shocked by the attack, the killing of our staff and patients and the heavy toll it has inflicted …Read More