News - Afghanistan
Responding to the findings of the U.S military report on the bombing if the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) hospital in Kunduz last month, 'Doctors Without Borders' on Thursday again called for an independent investigation to be conducted into the attack.
On Wednesday night General John F. Campbell, Commander Resolute Support and U.S. Forces -Afghanistan delivered their findings on the bombing of hospital and stated the incident was the result of "human error".
Campbell acknowledged the hospital was on a no-strike list and that MSF had called during the attack to alert the U.S.-led forces. He described a series of mistakes that allowed the American forces to destroy the hospital, despite the call.
He said the air crew mistook the hospital for a government compound – that of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) - which at the time was thought to be under the Taliban's control.
According to Jason Cone, executive director of MSF: "It's pretty shocking for us that they would still fire on a target, not knowing essentially what they were firing at. And that really amounts to essentially gross negligence in terms of being able to not distinguish between a civilian and military target."
He said: "We think that that needs and requires a further, independent investigation, not by someone who is involved in the conflict as the U.S. government is. And so we've reiterated our call for that independent investigation today."
Cone added: "I don't think anyone should accept, regardless of how rigorous this investigation may be on the part of the U.S. government and regardless of whatever procedures need to be followed to do that, that we should accept that those who were involved in conflict should be investigating themselves. I don't think we would accept that in other countries. I don't think we should accept that in this case."
"And what we are seeing in many conflict zones is a real lack of respect for medical facilities, protection of civilians in those facilities. And we need, and this is part of reaffirming the respect for the protected status of medical facilities, patients, doctors in conflict zones around the world, whether it be Afghanistan or in other conflicts elsewhere," he said.
The U.S investigation found that the deadly October 3 air strike in northern Kunduz province that destroyed the MSF hospital was a tragic and avoidable accident caused primarily by human error.
Some U.S personnel were suspended and could face disciplinary action after failing to follow U.S rules of engagement in a war zone, said Campbell.
He said: "No nation does more to prevent civilian casualties than the United States, but we failed to meet our own high standards on October 3rd. This was a tragic, but avoidable accident caused primarily by human error."
According to the investigation, U.S forces had meant to target a different building in the city and were led off-track by a technical error in their aircraft's mapping system that initially directed them to an empty field.
The U.S forces then looked for a target that was visually similar to the one they had originally sought - the National Directorate of Security headquarters in Kunduz, which they believed was occupied by insurgents.