MSF, HRW renew call for independent investigation
KABUL (Pajhwok): Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) on Thursday rejected findings of an internal US military inquiry into the Oct. 3 airstrike on its trauma centre in northern Kunduz province.
“MSF reiterates its call for an independent and impartial investigation into the attack on our hospital in Kunduz,” the director-general of the medical charity said.
Christopher Stokesadded investigations of the hospital bombing, in which 30 lives were lost,could not be left solely to parties to the conflict in Afghanistan.
Hours earlier, America’s top military commander in Afghanistan announced the suspension from duty of some troops involved in the deadly airstrike,
The aircraft’s targeting systems failed to deliver accurate information, and in addition, email and other electronic systems on board the aircraft, including a live video feed also failed during the operation.
Instruments aboard the AC-130 gunship malfunctioned and a pre-flight briefing was skipped that would have warned pilots there was a hospital in the area that was on a no-strike list.
Stokesreacted: “It is shocking that an attack can be carried out when US forces have neither eyes on a target nor access to a no-strike list, and have malfunctioning communications systems.”
It appeared that 30 people were killed and hundreds of thousands denied life-saving care simply because the MSF hospital was the closest large building to an open field and roughly matcheda description of an intended target, he added.
“The frightening catalogue of errors illustrates gross negligence on the part of US forces and violations of the rules of war,” the MSF official remarked.
Meanwhile, the Human Rights Watch said: “At a minimum, even today’s explanations leave open serious questions about whether the attackers knowingly or recklessly fired on a functioning hospital.”
In a statement, HRW said: “This warrants a criminal investigation into possible war crimes, but the Pentagon did not clarify today whether recommendations made to senior commanders include possible criminal charges.”
Patricia Gossman, the group’s senior researcher on Afghanistan, asked for an independent investigation outside the military chain-of-command. It is apparent such … an independent investigation is still urgently needed.”
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