MSF refuses notion of coalition between humanitarian aid and military strikes

Paris, Oct 8, 2001 - Yesterday the American and British forces launched air strikes on Afghanistan following the massacre of 6,000 people in New York and Washington on September 11th. This attack was accompanied by what is described as a 'humanitarian' operation, designed to gain public support for these bombings. This is not a humanitarian operation. It is part of a military campaign designed to gather international approval of the attacks led by the United States. Dropping a few cases of drugs and food in the middle of the night during air raids, without knowing who is going to collect them, is virtually useless and may even be dangerous. What sense is there in shooting with one hand and distributing medicines with the other? How will the Afghan population know in the future if an offer of humanitarian aid does not hide a military operation? Furthermore, the confusion between military and humanitarian operations only increases the danger for already complicated humanitarian action, limiting even further the possibilities of intervention. Médecins Sans Frontières therefore rejects the idea of a humanitarian coalition alongside the military coalition, as requested by president Bush and Prime Minister Blair, and calls for the imperative necessity of independent humanitarian action.