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The Times, September 8, 2009

US troops accused of carrying out armed raid on Afghan hospital

The soldiers tied up four guards and two relatives before turning patients out of beds and searching a women’s ward, it is claimed.

Jerome Starkey

US troops stormed a hospital and tied up medical staff, in breach of international law, a Swedish charity has claimed.

Soldiers from the US Army’s 10th Mountain Division made an armed raid last Wednesday on the clinic, in eastern Afghanistan, to search for insurgents, Anders Fänge, the director of the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, said.

“This is a clear violation of internationally recognised rules and principles,” he said.

The soldiers tied up four guards and two relatives before turning patients out of beds and searching a women’s ward, it is claimed.

Troops demanded that the hospital staff in Wardak, south of Kabul, alert the military if insurgents came for treatment. The medics refused.

“If the international military forces are not respecting the sanctity of health facilities, then there is no reason for the Taleban to do it either,” Mr Frange added. “Then these clinics and hospitals would become military targets.”

A spokesman for the United Nations in Afghanistan called the raid worrying. Nato is investigating.

It comes as details emerged of a friendly fire attack in Helmand, which narrowly missed British troops in Babaji.

Military officials said that US attack helicopters strafed a line of British troops, who retook the area from the Taleban in June. No one was hurt.

Category: US-NATO, HR Violations - Views: 5689