A top U.S. military commander says American forces are responsible for “mistakenly” hitting a hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, in an aerial bombardment that killed 22 people. Army General John Campbell told a congressional committee in Washington that Afghan forces requested the airstrike on the hospital operated by the international medical charity Doctors Without Borders because Taliban insurgents were firing from the facility. But he said the U.S. conducted the half-hour-long raid after reviewing the request. “To be clear, the decision to provide aerial fire was a U.S. decision made within the U.S. chain of command,” Campbell said. “A hospital was mistakenly struck.
After that attack Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has pulled its staff from the city and has transferred doctors and critical patients to other hospitals outside the city of Kunduz. The destruction of the hospital is not only going to exacerbate the humanitarian crisis but will also deepen the political crisis surrounding the Ashraf Ghani-led Afghan government and complicate the involvement of the US forces in Afghanistan.
MSF called on Wednesday for an independent international commission to investigate the deadly U.S. bombing of its hospital in Kunduz in Afghanistan, which it deems a war crime. The medical charity said that the inquiry would gather facts and evidence from the United States, NATO and Afghanistan, as well as testimony from surviving MSF staff and patients. Only then would MSF consider whether to bring criminal charges for loss of life and partial destruction of its hospital, which has left tens of thousands of Afghans without access to health care.
US expressed its regret and promised to conduct an internal investigation into the matter. The MSF however refuses to bite and will not be satisfied with anything less than an independent investigation.
War also has rules; US and Afghan forces must not harm civilian people in their attacks against militants.