The American’s cannot help but be bulls in a china shop. Public opinion against the Taliban is at an all time low in Pakistan and Afghanistan, yet the headlines are being made by the consistently gung-ho Americans. MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières) demanded an immediate explanation on 3 October, after an airstrike hit a hospital run by the humanitarian organisation in the Afghan city of Kunduz. At least 19 people were killed in what the US military called possible “collateral damage” in the battle to oust Taliban insurgents.

This comes after Obama’s rants against Russian President Putin for bombing terrorists. While Russians are leading air strikes in Syria, it is the US that is continually losing the moral high ground. The situation is so bad that this is being called a war crime. The UN rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein called for a full and transparent probe, noting: “An air strike on a hospital may amount to a war crime. This event is utterly tragic, inexcusable and possibly even criminal.”

The Taliban launched their spring offensive earlier this year with a major assault on Kunduz that also took government forces unawares and was repelled with the aid of reinforcements after days of heavy fighting. Since then the Taliban are believed to have allied with other insurgents, including the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and militants driven into Afghanistan from neighbouring Pakistan after military assaults on insurgent hideouts near the porous border. The Kunduz assault highlighted the resiliency of the Taliban.

Peace is a far cry and the narrative created by the Afghan officials that put the blame on Pakistan is falling apart. Kunduz is a northern city, and the Afghan Taliban’s resistance has more to do with its long tradition of wanting to take down the Afghan government, than any mischief that Pakistan, or Pakistani based militants want to create. Additionally, the Afghan Taliban have proven that they are an organized lot of fighters, not just a rag-tag bunch of militants coming from across the border. All of this is bad news, for Afghan stability, as well as regional piece. Pakistan has been doing all it can to end the Taliban scourge, and this victory in Afghan helps no one.

International humanitarian efforts are already over extended due to the crisis in Syria. The UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency, has said that it will pack up its operations in Pakistan this year. The situation is grim and the plight of the Afghanis will continue. MSF has withdrawn staff, an unfortunate precedent to set, as the Afghan people need the humanitarian effort to continue, especially on the health care front.