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US General Says Afghans Called in Airstrike That Hit Kunduz Hospital
Initially, the Pentagon said US troops called in the airstrikes, but Campbell changed that account today.
Now Doctors Without Borders is pulling out of Kunduz despite great need for their medical services.
At least 22 people, including nine local staffers for Doctors Without Borders, were killed and 30 were missing after an explosion Saturday near the hospital, in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz. “Relying only on an internal investigation by a party to the conflict would be wholly insufficient”, the statement said. A few victims burned to death in their beds as the bombardments continued for an hour, even after USA and Afghan authorities were informed that the hospital was hit, MSF said. “There can be no justification for this frightful attack“.
MSF re-iterated its demand for an independent investigation by an worldwide body.
MSF said it had recently transmitted the Global Positioning System co-ordinates of the long-established hospital to all sides in the fighting. The bombings were in support of Afghan Security Forces on the ground fighting Taliban insurgents who overran Kunduz last Monday.
The US military is doing its own standard investigation under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. It’s unclear whether the clinic was targeted in error or whether US military personnel followed procedure. They are required to verify that the target of the requested airstrike is valid before firing.
“The reality is the US dropped those bombs”, Stokes said. Afghan forces say they have retaken Kunduz, an important city on the Tajikistan border, a hub for smuggling routes for drugs and guns to and from Central Asian countries.
Amid accusations that USA jet fighters were responsible for what Doctors Without Borders said was a “sustained bombing” of their trauma center in Kunduz, President Barack Obama and Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani promised investigations.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned the airstrikes and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, said the attack “may amount to a war crime.”
MSF has questioned Campbell’s remarks saying Washington is attempting to shift the blame from the USA forces to Afghanistan.
The day after the attack MSF closed the hospital, a lifeline in a war-battered region with scant medical care. On Monday, reports said police and residents said that Afghan forces had regained control of most of the besieged city and a few shops in the centre of the provincial capital opened for the first time since it fell a week ago.
“General Campbell will take whatever actions he thinks are appropriate”, Carter said.
Campbell is expected to testify about his recommendations on the future of the USA military mission in Afghanistan.