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Walter Rodgers: U.N. take on hospital bombing

CNN's Walter Rodgers
CNN's Walter Rodgers  

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- A United Nations official in Islamabad said Tuesday that U.N. staff in Herat, Afghanistan, reported that U.S.-led airstrikes flattened a hospital on a military compound.

The U.N. official said the Afghan staff was not able to determine casualties or whether the building was marked with a red crescent to indicate it is a hospital.

The disclosure follows a Taliban accusation Monday that U.S. planes bombed a civilian hospital in Herat, killing as many as 100 Afghans.

CNN Senior International Correspondent Walter Rodgers is in Islamabad and filed the following report:

RODGERS: There has now been a third-party clarification of the Taliban's allegations Monday that the United States bombed a hospital in Herat. The Taliban alleges there were 100 civilians and medical personnel killed in that bombing.

The United Nations spokeswoman here in Islamabad, who is in radio contact with Afghan employees of the United Nations on the ground in Herat, offered new details on what happened.

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Apparently, U.N. Afghan employees say it was not a civilian hospital that was hit, rather it was a Taliban military base on the outskirts of Herat. And one of the buildings that was leveled, according to these U.N. representatives in Herat, was a military hospital. It's not clear at this point how many casualties there are. More importantly, it's not at all clear whether that hospital was marked with a red crescent, indicating that it was indeed a hospital.

Here is Stephanie Bunker, the U.N. spokeswoman:

BUNKER: Our information, which we received late [Tuesday] afternoon, is that a hospital in Herat was hit, and it was reportedly destroyed. It was a military hospital in a military compound on the eastern outskirts of the city. The numbers of casualties are not known, and that's all of the information we have at this time.

RODGERS: The Taliban continues to level charges of terrorism against the United States and against Great Britain because of the continuing airstrikes. Earlier Tuesday, a Taliban spokesman said the United States "martyred" 19 civilians in an airstrike against Kandahar, and again there are new charges of terrorism against the United States, with the Taliban accusing the U.S. of using chemical agents.


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