U.S. calls Kunduz bombing 'mistake'

Oct 07, 2015, 5:07 AM EDT
Army General John Campbell, commander of the U.S. forces in Afghanistan
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The U.S. military has taken responsibility for an airstrike at an Afghan hospital in Kunduz that resulted in the deaths of 22 patients and medical workers. General John F. Campbell said the strike was the result of “a U.S. decision made within the U.S. chain of command.” The New York Times reports:

General Campbell, in testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee, offered few new details about the attack, which lasted for more than a half-hour and killed 22 patients and hospital staff members in northern Afghanistan on Saturday. He said the details of what took place would come out in an investigation now underway.
 
But after days of shifting and at times ambiguous American statements about the strike, which Doctors Without Borders has compared to a war crime, General Campbell was as direct on Tuesday as any official has been to date.
 
“A hospital was mistakenly struck,” he said.
 
 
Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the Pentagon "deeply regrets" the loss of life. "The U.S. military takes the greatest care in our operations to prevent the loss of innocent life, and when we make mistakes, we own up to them. That's exactly what we're doing right now," Carter, who was traveling in Europe, said in a statement.
 
"We will do everything we can to understand this tragic incident, learn from it, and hold people accountable as necessary," he said.
 
Earlier in Washington, the American commander of international forces in Afghanistan, Army General John Campbell, called the strike a mistake made within the U.S. chain of command.
 
The comments by Carter and Campbell were the most direct acknowledgement yet by the U.S. government that the strike on the hospital was carried out by U.S. forces. On Monday, Campbell said only that U.S. forces had responded to a request for support from Afghan forces.

 

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