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US report: Afghanistan hospital attack not a war crime
US report: Afghanistan hospital attack not a war crime

US Central Command [official website] released its final report [materials] Friday on the October airstrike that hit a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) [advocacy website] hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, finding that the strike was not a war crime. The investigation concluded that the gunship’s ground crew and operators were not aware they were firing on a medical facility. Because there was no intent to fire upon a medical facility, there was no war crime, the report concluded. US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter expressed his condolences in remarks [press release] Friday and sent a memorandum [text, PDF] directing specific actions to prevent future incidents. Sixteen individuals are reportedly facing discipline [AP report] for their roles in the attack. MSF said it will review the report [press release] and reiterated calls for an independent investigation.

Pentagon officials completed their investigation [JURIST report] into the October 3 bombing in November and announced 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 more than 30 and injured dozens. MSF called for an independent investigation [JURIST report] into the attack by the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights also 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].