US military denies war crime in Afghan hospital strike

CCTV News

US military denies war crime in Afghan hospital strike1

The Pentagon says a U.S. gunship attack on a hospital run by the international aid organization Doctors Without Borders wasn’t a war crime.

CCTV’s Frances Kuo has the details.

US military denies war crime in Afghan hospital strike

US military denies war crime in Afghan hospital strike

The Pentagon says a U.S. gunship attack on a hospital run by the international aid organization Doctors Without Borders wasn't a war crime. CCTV’s Frances Kuo has the details.

The Pentagon report didn’t exonerate U.S. military personnel for the hospital attack on October 3, 2015. It blamed human error and equipment failure for the hospital strike that killed 42 people.

U.S. air crews were supposed to hit a building seized by the Taliban in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz.

As images released by Doctors Without Borders show, the strikes left the hospital in a state of near total destruction. The dead included 24 patients, 14 medical staff and four caretakers.

However, the report released on Friday argues the incident was not a war crime since it was unintentional.

“The fact that this was unintentional action, takes it out of the realm of actually being a deliberate war crime against persons or protected locations,” General Joseph Votel of U.S. Central Command stated.

Doctors Without Borders said it had given the U.S. the exact location of the hospital to keep it safe from friendly fire. The Pentagon admits error and says there was a fatal difference of just 400 meters between the hospital and the alleged enemy target.

The Pentagon investigation concluded the gunship attack resulted from a combination of human error, equipment failure and mistakes in processing the order to strike.

While Pentagon officials as well as President Barack Obama have personally apologized for the bombing, Kunduz residents still believe that apologies aren’t enough.

“This act is not forgivable,” Zabiullah Neyazi, a survivor from the MSF hospital attack said. “Those criminals who have done it, if they are American or from anywhere else, must be put on trial, in an open trial in Afghanistan, not in America.”

The Pentagon says the 16 personnel who carried out the gunship attack have been disciplined, but will not face criminal charges.


Michiel Hofman on the Afghan hospital attack

We asked Michiel Hofman, a senior humanitarian specialist at Doctors Without Borders, about his response to the Pentagon’s announcement.

Michiel Hofman on the Afghan hospital attack

Michiel Hofman on the Afghan hospital attack

We asked Michiel Hofman, a senior humanitarian specialist at Doctors Without Borders, about his response to the Pentagon's announcement.