Pentagon: MSF hospital strike ‘caused primarily by human error’

U.S. Army General John Campbell, the commander of international and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, speaks during a news conference at Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan, November 25, 2015.

U.S. Army General John Campbell, the commander of international and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, speaks during a news conference at Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan, November 25, 2015.


A U.S. air strike on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan that killed at least 30 people was caused primarily by human error, the commander of U.S. forces said Wednesday, promising disciplinary action.

General John Campbell said those most closely associated with the incident had been suspended from their duties, as he announced the results of an investigation into the October 3 strike.

The hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan came under devastating fire from a U.S. special operations AC-130 gunship, in a prolonged attack that drew international condemnation.

The “tragic but avoidable accident (was) caused primarily by human error,” Campbell said at a news conference at NATO headquarters here.

“The medical facility was misidentified as a target by U.S. personnel who believed they were striking a different building several hundred meters away where there were reports of combatants,” Campbell said.

“The personnel who requested the strike and those who executed it from the air did not undertake appropriate measures to verify that the facility was a legitimate military target,” he said.

Some of those involved in the attacks failed to follow the rules of engagement, Brigadier General Wilson Shoffner said at the same news conference.

“We have learned from this terrible incident,” said Campbell. “We will also take administrative and disciplinary action through a process that is fair and thorough (and) considers the available evidence.”


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