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While a United States AC-130 gunship blasted a Médecins Sans Frontières
 hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, with howitzer and incendiary rounds early on the morning of October 3, 2015, MSF staff phoned and texted American and Afghan authorities more than a dozen times trying desperately to stop the attack. Medical staff and patients were shot as they fled the building. Others burned to death as they lay in their beds. By the time the half-hour airstrike was over, 42 people—including doctors, nurses, and patients—were dead. The Pentagon later carried out an investigation and determined that while errors were made, no one will face criminal charges.

Though it was horrific, the Kunduz hospital attack was not unusual. It was one of hundreds of assaults on health care workers and hospitals in conflict zones around the globe since 2015, as cataloged in a detailed new report from Johns Hopkins University. The consequences of these attacks have been devastating: In Syria, nearly 30 percent of the health care workers killed in 2015 were executed, shot, or tortured to death. In a single year of war in Yemen, 600 health care facilities, representing a quarter of the country’s health care capacity, were shuttered because of damage or a lack of staff or supplies. Due to what the report describes as the “scorched-earth war” in Sudan, the country’s Upper Nile region is left with only a single hospital to care for 1 million people.

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Mother Jones

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