The Times, January 24, 2009
Taliban ‘treated in same field hospital as British soldiers’
“I’m appalled that Taliban are being treated in the same room at the hospital.”
Michael Evans, Defence Editor
Anger: A suspected Taliban fighter gets the best medical care at Camp Bastion (Photo: BBC)
British servicemen have complained that troops injured in Afghanistan are being treated in the same field hospital as wounded Taliban fighters.
The BBC said yesterday that it had received a number of complaints from servicemen about the shared wards at Camp Bastion in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, which was built at a cost of £10 million and opened in February last year. “A lot of people are getting injured out there and the last thing they want to see when they come round is the Taliban on the same ward,” one soldier told the BBC.
Another said: “I’m appalled that Taliban are being treated in the same room at the hospital.”
The Ministry of Defence said that, under the Geneva Convention, British doctors were obliged to treat all injured and that the medical team at Camp Bastion had never raised any objections, nor received complaints from troops about the presence of Taliban. “As far as they are concerned, they are injured patients, not injured Taliban,” it added.
The MoD said the hospital had treated Taliban commanders, as well as Afghan children and members of the Afghan National Army. The only difference was that Taliban injured had armed guards at the end of their beds. Lieutenant-General Louis Lilly-white, the Surgeon-General, said: “No one has ever complained to me about being treated in a hospital where there are Taliban.”
When The Times visited the hospital in April last year, Lieutenant-Colonel Andrew Jose, then in charge of the facility, said: “We don’t turn away injured Taliban, but once they have recovered, we hand them over to the Afghan authorities.”
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