Kunduz Attack: US Manipulated Into Hospital Strikes by Afghan Partners?

© Photo : media.msf.org/Victor J. BlueAn interior view of the MSF Trauma Centre, 14 October 2015, shows a missile hole in the wall and the burnt-out remians of the the building aftera sustained attack on the facility in Kunduz, northern Afghanistan
An interior view of the MSF Trauma Centre, 14 October 2015, shows a missile hole in the wall and the burnt-out remians of the the building aftera sustained attack on the facility in Kunduz, northern Afghanistan - Sputnik International
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Two soldiers told a congressman that a US airstrike on an Afghan hospital in October was not accidental, as the Pentagon claims, but was a deliberate attack on what the military believed was a Taliban command center.

An American gunship fired on the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital for more than 30 minutes, killing 31 civilians and destroying the building in what MSF is calling a war crime. The military characterized the strike as some kind of accident in reports that have changed over time.

In this Friday, Oct. 16, 2015 photo, an employee of Doctors Without Borders walks inside the charred remains of their hospital after it was hit by a U.S. airstrike in Kunduz, Afghanistan. - Sputnik International
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According to a letter sent from Representative Duncan Hunter to Defense Secretary Ash Carter, two unnamed servicemen told Hunter that US Special Forces who called in the strike did not know the building was still being used as a hospital. Afghan forces, the soldiers say, told them it had become a Taliban command and control center.

"There were enemy in there," Hunter quotes one of the servicemen as saying. "They had already removed and ransomed the foreign doctors, and they had fired on partnered personnel from there."

MSF insists that there were no armed men in the hospital at the time of the attack, an assertion that has been supported by the US military's investigation.

In this image provided by the U.S. Air Force, an F-16 Fighting Falcon takes off from Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, as the U.S. on Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015, launched its first airstrikes by Turkey-based F-16 fighter jets against Islamic State targets in Syria - Sputnik International
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The soldiers’ accounts suggest that the United States was manipulated by its Afghan partners into attacking the hospital, Hunter said in the letter to Carter.

The congressman wrote of his concern "that inaccurate information and poor intelligence was provided by Afghan forces – including information that was both incorrect and unverified by US intelligence and personnel."

The military first claimed that the strike was called in to protect US forces under fire, but later said it was called in to protect Afghan troops under fire. The military’s most recent official report is that the intended target was half a mile away, but the hospital was hit as the result of human error and technical failures.

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