Pentagon determines human error caused Afghanistan hospital bombing

Pentagon determines human error caused Afghanistan hospital bombing

[JURIST] The US Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] and Pentagon officials have completed their investigation into the October 3 bombing of the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) [advocacy website] hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan and announced [statement] on Wednesday that it was an “avoidable accident caused primarily by human error.” Commander of US forces in Afghanistan, General John Campbell [official profile], stated that the hospital was targeted accidentally, and US personnel believed they were attacking a separate structure containing enemy combatants several hundred meters away. The investigation found that personnel did not complete full precautionary measures to verify the target was a “legitimate military target.” Systems and procedural failures compounded the human error, resulting in the hospital bombing that killed over 30 and injured dozens. Military service members who were most closely related to the bombing have been suspended [WSJ report], but Campbell declined to state how many were suspended.

Last month MSF called for an independent investigation [JURIST report] into the attack by the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission. Also in October the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called for an investigation [JURIST report] into the Kunduz hospital attack and for the results of an investigation to be made public. Several days prior to the hospital attack, the UN rights leader also requested that all parties in the Taliban attack in Kunduz attempt to keep civilians out of harm [JURIST report]. In August the UN said that a new report [text, PDF] shows a significant increase in the number of women and children being hurt or killed in Afghanistan’s war against the Taliban [JURIST report] and other insurgents. In June the UN Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan, Mark Bowden, stated that the hostilities in Afghanistan are leading to the killing and wounding of thousands [JURIST report] and the forced relocation of families into neighboring countries.