Gen. Campbell continues to change his story, now telling the Senate Armed Services Committee that the attack on the MSF hospital in Kunduz was authorized within the U.S. chain of command, but that targeting the hospital constituted an unexplained "mistake."
The attack was carried out by an AC-130 gunship, a slow, low-flying prop plane bristling with many kinds of weapons including cannons, missiles and guided bombs. The plane orbits its target and can sustain fire over an extended period, as happened in this case.
It turns out, according to Gen. Campbell, that the lesson is that the U.S. war in Afghanistan must continue for a longer time. "Campbell told lawmakers that he has given the White House a plan, containing various options and “pros and cons,” for keeping a larger force in Afghanistan beyond January 2017. The administration is considering it, the general said."
There is currently no international humanitarian assistance in Kunduz, as fighting in the city continues. Insurgents have once again taken down the Afghan flag from the city's central roundabout and are engaging government forces with captured tanks. The population still does not have food or water and circumstances are growing desperate.
NATO defense ministers will meet in Brussels on Thursday to discuss the Resolute Support mission.
Joanne Liu, president of MSF says:
Statements from the Afghanistan government have claimed that Taliban forces were using the hospital to fire on Coalition forces. These statements imply that Afghan and US forces working together decided to raze to the ground a fully functioning hospital, which amounts to an admission of a war crime.