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UN releases damning Kunduz report

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan has released a report on human rights abuses during the battle over Kunduz. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has upped the death toll from US strike on its hospital to 42.

The

UN report

, released Saturday, documents 289 deaths and 559 civilian injuries that occurred in Kunduz and the surrounding districts between September 28 and October 13.

"The vast majority of casualties documented so far resulted from ground fighting that could not be attributed solely to one party," it stated.

Kunduz, the capital of the eponymous province, was held by the Taliban for three days before a government counter-offensive was launched that dragged on for two weeks as

Afghan troops battled Taliban fighters for control of the city.

Chaos in the city "enabled an environment in which civilians were subjected to arbitrary killings, assault, other forms of violence, including gender-based violence, threats and widespread criminality," the report stated.

A subsequent Afghan investigation concluded that weak leadership, misuse of resources and lack of coordination between services were the main reasons Kunduz fell to the Taliban.

Afghanistan US-Luftangriff - Ärzte ohne Grenzen Krankenhaus in Kundus

Charred remains of the MSF hospital is seen after being hit by a US airstrike in Kunduz, Afghanistan. The death toll was increased to 42 on Saturday.

Doctors Without Borders accuses US military of war crime

Meanwhile, the medical charity Doctors Without Borders has raised the death toll from a US strike on its Kunduz hospital to 42. The Pentagon

blamed the deaths on "human error" by its forces.

The charity has said the strike on the hospital by a AC-130 gunship lasted nearly an hour and left patients burning in their beds with some victims decapitated and suffering traumatic amputations.

"Previously MSF had reported a death toll of at least 30 people, but the organization confirms the toll has risen to 42, after methodical review of MSF records and family claims, as well as patient, staff and family testimonies," MSF said in a statement.

Pressure is growing for an

international inquiry

into the October 3 raid on the hospital which came as NATO-backed Afghan forces clashed with insurgents for control of Kunduz.

MSF has repeatedly called for an independent investigation, delivering a petition signed by 547,000 people to the White House. But so far neither the US nor Afghanistan has agreed to an independent probe.

Guilhem Molinie, the MSF's Afghanistan director, said its staffers killed had given their lives treating people trapped in a war zone.

"We ask President Obama to honor their work and their memory by consenting to a truly independent, international investigation," he said in a statement Saturday.

jar/bw (AFP, AP)

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