When institutions fail to fulfill their long-established responsibilities, other groups must fill the void and meet the needs that are going unmet. When this happens, the new responsibilities assumed can conflict with these groups’ prior expectations and prior responsibilities. In states of war and civil unrest, such problems are compounded a thousand-fold.
American forces have come under scrutiny after an airstrike against Taliban forces in the Afghan city of Kunduz accidentally hit a Doctors Without Borders hospital. Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) is a humanitarian organization founded in France on December 22, 1971. Their mission is to provide medical care to people in need, based on the belief that “all people have the right to medical care regardless of gender, race, religion, creed, or political affiliation, and that the needs of these people outweigh respect for national boundaries.” It is not uncommon to see the group provide aid to dangerous places like refugee camps, areas affected by natural disasters, sites of disease outbreak, and war zones.