Pentagon to investigate bombing of Doctors Without Borders hospital
Defense Secretary Ash Carter has promised a thorough review of the attack in Kunduz, Afghanistan that killed 19 civilians at a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders.
The Afghan government claims that Taliban fighters had entered the hospital and were firing at government and US troops. But DWB is denying that claim, saying that they desperately tried to contact the US military several times to get them to halt the bombing.
DWB has now withdrawn from Kunduz and is calling for an independent investigation.
Doctors Without Borders is calling for an independent investigation of the deadly bombing of its hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz, which it says is no longer operational.
Aerial bombardments blew apart the medical facility about the time of a U.S. airstrike early Saturday, killing at least 19 people, officials said.
The blasts left part of the hospital in flames and rubble, killing 12 staffers and seven patients -- including three children -- and injuring 37 other people, the charity said.
As the United States said it was investigating what struck the hospital during the night, the charity expressed shock and demanded answers, stressing that all combatants had been told long ago where the hospital was.
"(The bombing) constitutes a grave violation of international humanitarian law," said Doctors Without Borders, which is known internationally as Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF.
The bombardments continued even after U.S. and Afghan military officials were notified the hospital was being attacked, the charity said.
The White House released a statement from President Barack Obama offering condolences to the charity from Americans.
"The Department of Defense has launched a full investigation, and we will await the results of that inquiry before making a definitive judgment as to the circumstances of this tragedy," the President said. "I ... expect a full accounting of the facts and circumstances."
One day after heavily criticizing Russia for indiscriminate bombing of civilians in Syria, the US is accused of bombing a hospital. But the double standard applied to US transgressions is appalling.
Russia has killed dozens of civilians in their bombing campaign so far and little more than pro forma denunciations have come from most of the international community. And Russia is deliberately targeting civilians by using unguided ordnamce ("dumb bombs"). Now the international community is equating the tragic accident in Kunduz with the Russians targeting civilians for terror purposes in Syria. Putin must be smiling in Moscow.
While Doctors Without Borders denies there were Taliban fighters using the hospital as cover, it wouldn't be the first time for insurgents to violate international law with impunity. Recall that the Palstinians routinely used schools and hospitals as armmo dumps during the most recent conflict with Israel. Their goal - like the Taliban's in Afghanistan - is to maximize civilian casualties to outrage world opinion and anger the locals.
In this case, no matter how it happened, the Taliban achieved their goal.