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Afghanistan’s ‘Auschwitz-like’ hospital

Posted by The Agonist on August 3rd, 2012

From our partners at The Agonist

Gareth Porter | Aug 3

Al Jazeera – Emaciated patients left to die in their hospital beds with open sores and maggots in their wounds. These were the conditions in Afghanistan’s Dawood Khan military hospital that were finally uncovered by a few members of the US military in 2010.

The hospital is run by the Afghan government, but it is mainly funded by the US. Its doctors and nurses are also being trained and overseen by the US and NATO.

One US colonel involved in the investigation into the conditions at the hospital described what he saw there as “Auschwitz-like”.

Officials began documenting the widespread corruption at the hospital – including stolen pharmaceuticals and counterfeit medicine being used on Afghan soldiers – as far back as 2006.

By 2010, military staff began documenting maggots on open wounds, patients starved for weeks, surgery performed with no sedatives and bedsores so deep that bones showed through.

However, several military officers told a congressional hearing last week that attempts to launch an investigation were prevented by Lieutenant General William Caldwell.

Caldwell was one of the highest-ranking commanders in Afghanistan, and the officers testifying at the hearing allege that he was concerned about the political repercussions of an investigation ahead of the 2010 congressional elections, as well as the effect on his own career.

Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Davis published an 86-page report in January, claiming that US generals in Afghanistan were giving rosy estimates of the situation in the country when, in fact, the opposite was true.

“Senior ranking US military leaders have so distorted the truth when communicating with the US Congress and American people in regards to conditions on the ground in Afghanistan that the truth has become unrecognisable,” Davis said. “This deception has damaged America’s credibility among both our allies and enemies, severely limiting our ability to reach a political solution to the war in Afghanistan.

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