In 2015, the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, was destroyed by US airstrikes. Forty-two people were killed, including patients, MSF staff, and caretakers. For the last few years, we have been working to rebuild a new trauma center in the city, even amid escalating conflict between the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (also known as the Taliban) and Afghan government forces.
During the intense clashes last month, MSF transformed its Kunduz office space into a temporary trauma unit to care for wounded people. On August 16, these patients were transferred to the nearly-finished Kunduz Trauma Center. This facility will employ 300 Afghans when it is fully operational, including staff members who survived the initial US attack six years ago. Many local people still need significant trauma care. Here, a medic on MSF’s Kunduz team describes his experience during the recent fighting and the work that is taking place now.
Today it is busy but calm. We’re recruiting new staff, and the final steps of the construction process are taking place all around us.
The first evening we opened, there was continuous bombardment and shooting. We had to rush to the bunker, and we stayed there all night, without any sleep. Patients were not able to reach the trauma unit at that stage, on account of the non-stop fighting in the streets.