Afghan hospital bombing victims thought they were ‘imminently going to die’

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    For more on the hospital bombing, I am joined by phone from Kabul by New York Times reporter Alissa Rubin.

    So, Alissa, in the last 24 hours, you have been able to catch up with some of the victims. What was the scene that they described?

  • ALISSA RUBIN, The New York Times:

    It was the middle of the night, so people were completely confused by what was happening. They heard enormous explosions around them.

    Then there would be pauses, then renewed explosions. They were — some people, those who survived, were helped to get into bunkers by the hospital staff.

    And you have to realize some of these people were — were limping. They were quite stick, or they wouldn't have been in the hospital.

    And there were family members with them as well. And what their experience was, was a sense that they were imminently going to die.

    Several — two — at least two or three people said they thought it was their last moments on earth.


    You even — you even talked to some people who had come in from the fighting, who already had suffered losses.


    Yes. I mean, several of the people there had either lost family members or had them — had them badly wounded and had come to the hospital for refuge.

    So, they already had gone through either bombings or gunshots and been in the wrong place at the wrong time. These were all civilians.

    And then, of course, there was a — I think, a terrible shock when they emerged when the bombing stopped and saw the destruction, not just at the hospital, but of patients who died in — during the attack.


    What is the status of the investigation?

    I mean, previous president, Hamid Karzai, had to deal with the political blowback from these friendly fire or accidental bombings and air raids.


    Well, I think it has been very interesting.

    I mean, today, there has not been substantial commentary on it.

    There has been some on social media, but there have been more pictures on the television of the army handing out food in areas that they control in Kunduz, but not the kind of widespread criticism I would have expected, frankly.

    And I am not sure if people are absorbing what happened, or if there is enormous ambivalence, because, on the one hand, many people would like the Taliban to be removed from the city, and the city to go back into government hands.

    And they're not sure the Afghan military can do it on its own, so they are hesitant to — to be too critical.

    It is a very difficult situation to figure out.

    And Hamid Karzai, as you recall, led a lot of the criticism of the United States in those — when there were civilian casualties.

    And Ashraf Ghani has said much less that is critical publicly.


    All right, New York Times reporter Alissa Rubin joining us by phone from Kabul, Afghanistan, thanks so much.


    Thank you.

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