No Criminal Charges for US Bombing of Afghan Hospital

HT MSF5 strike hopital mm 151105 16x9 992
HT MSF5 strike hopital mm 151105 16x9 992

In October, the US military conducted an airstrike on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, killing 42 people. Doctors Without Borders called the attack a “war crime”, suggesting that the “attack was conducted with a purpose to kill and destroy.” Human Rights Watch demanded a criminal investigation. President Obama apologized for the bombing.

Despite all of this, no U.S. military personnel are facing criminal charges. The Defense Department instead decided to issue administrative punishments to at least 12 personnel. Administrative punishments usually entail letters of reprimand.

The 42 people killed included 24 patients, four relatives of patients and 14 staff members.

US General John Campbell characterized the airstrike as “an example of human process error.” Doctors Without Borders has asserted that both the Afghan and US government were “clearly informed of the precise location (GPS Coordinates) of the…facilities in Kunduz.”

The Afghan War is the longest war in U.S. history. Despite President Obama’s pledge to end the war, in May he decided to keep 9,800 US troops in Afghanistan for at least one year.

The Pentagon is expected to publish a redacted version of its inquiry into the Kunduz bombing next week. Doctors Without Borders has taken issue with the U.S. inquiry, instead calling for an independent investigation.

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