White House refuses to label hospital raid as war crime
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): A week-end US airstrike on a Kunduz hospital that took the lives of 19 people demanded a full-scale investigation, the White House said on Monday.
“The scale of this tragedy is significant enough that it demands a full investigation, and you saw from the president's statement that he expects full accounting of exactly has happened,” the White House press secretary said.
Josh Earnest told reporters at his daily news conference three investigations were currently being undertaken by the US, NATO and the Afghan Government.
“His (president’s) expectation is that details won't be whitewashed, there will be full accounting of what exactly transpired, so that if it's necessary to take steps to prevent something like this from ever happening again,” he said.
Pending the investigation, Earnest said, he would not label the incident as a war crime. “I wouldn't use the label like that because this is something that continues to be under investigation.”
However, the White House did not respond to calls for an independent investigation by Doctors Without Border, which runs the hospital in Kunduz which came under heavy shelling from US fighter jets in the wee hours of October 3.
“The thing I do think warrants mentioning is that there is no country and no military in the world that goes to greater lengths and places a higher premium on avoiding civilian causalities than the US Department of Defense,” Earnest claimed.
Obama wanted to look at the long-term trajectory of an American presence in Afghanistan and factor in both what US experience had been in recent years and how best to account for the national security interests, he added.
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