WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Justice announced Thursday that it has concluded its investigation into the cause of the explosion at a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders in Kunduz, Afghanistan last Saturday which left twelve staff members and ten patients including three children dead.
Initial reports suggested the explosion may have been caused by a U.S. airstrike but new evidence compiled during a rigorous three-day investigation by the DOJ points to a defective gas line located underneath the main central hospital building. “This was a clear case of faulty wiring,” said Paul Brazzel, the chief investigator assigned to the DOJ inquiry. Brazzel added that decades of conflict have greatly contributed to Afghanistan’s “failing infrastructure.”
Using satellite imagery provided by General John Campbell, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Justice Department investigators were able to pinpoint the exact location where the gas leak and subsequent structure fire originated. “This tragedy could have easily been avoided with routine preventative maintenance,” Brazzel said.
The DOJ has not explicitly named Doctors Without Borders as the party responsible for the incident but said the charity organization, also known as Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF), was the “sole proprietor” of the hospital and as such, was “responsible for its upkeep.”
Meanwhile, Doctors Without Borders is calling for an independent and transparent investigation into what lead to the deaths of twenty-two people, some of whom were burned alive in their hospital beds, on Saturday. As of Thursday, twenty-four staff members and nine patients were still unaccounted for.