Afghanistan: MSF Strongly Rejects Allegations That the Organization Works for the Interests of US or Any Other Government

Kabul, June 13, 2004 - Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) strongly rejects allegations that the organization works for the interests of the US or any other governments, as was quoted in BBC and AFP reports. Such allegations are without foundation and show a complete disregard for MSF's medical work on behalf of people in need in Afghanistan over the last 25 years. They further jeopardize the possibilities to provide humanitarian assistance to the population.

MSF is known worldwide for its provision of health care in times of crisis. In all situations, including Afghanistan, our medical teams provide assistance with the sole aim of alleviating suffering and saving lives and not in the service of any political or military agendas. We reinforce this independence by relying on mainly private donations, from individuals in many different countries. We do not accept funding from members of the coalition for MSF's work in Afghanistan and we have been repeatedly critical of Coalition Forces attempts to link humanitarian assistance to its military and political agenda.

MSF volunteers have been working in Afghanistan since 1980. We have continued to provide health care throughout difficult periods of its recent history, regardless of the political party or military group in power. MSF operates in 16 provinces across the country, provides primary and secondary level health care, maternal health care and tuberculosis treatment. Our programs seek to provide essential health care for people in need rather than support a particular government or any other actor. The men, women and children who attend our clinics know us for what we are, doctors and nurses working to alleviate their suffering.

For the past thirty-three years, MSF has been working for populations affected by conflict and violence. In the 80 countries where MSF works, we put the needs of the people first. Never in MSF's history, have our medical teams endured such a brutal attack as the murders in Badghis. The false allegations reported yesterday are unacceptable. They further endanger humanitarian workers and assistance. These statements are more than an attack on MSF - they are an attack on the will and ability to provide health care to people in need in Afghanistan.