16 found to be at fault for Doctors Without Borders hospital strike in Kunduz
The Department of Defense disciplined 16 people who were found to be at fault for the October airstrike against a Doctors Without Borders trauma center in Kunduz, Afghanistan that resulted in the death of 42 people, the Los Angeles Times and Reuters reported Thursday. Among those being disciplined was a two-star general, Air Force personnel and Army Special Forces personnel, anonymous officials told the LA Times.
None of the 16 will be court martialed, but one officer was suspended from command and was removed from Afghanistan. Seven received letters of punishment of reprimand – an administrative punishment that can have far-reaching consequences for a service member’s career – six were sent to counseling, and two were ordered to undergo retraining courses.
US Army General John Campbell, who is in charge of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, forwarded a 3,000-page investigation of the attack to US Central Command, and a heavily redacted version of the report is set to be released to the public on Friday.
Doctors Without Borders, also known as Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), has called the bombing a war crime and has asked for an independent investigation into the tragedy. Of those who were killed, fourteen were members of the organization’s staff and 24 were patients that they were treating.
"Patients burned in their beds, medical staff were decapitated and lost limbs, and others were shot by the circling AC-130 gunship while fleeing the burning building," Doctors Without Borders said in its report of the attacks released in November.
President Barack Obama has apologized for the attack, which was conducted to support Afghan troops attempting to retake the city, and the Pentagon has referred to it as a “mistake.”
“This was a tragic, but avoidable accident caused primarily by human error,” Campbell in a teleconference in November, recommending disciplinary action against servicemen involved.