US airstrikes killed 22 people, including Doctors Without Borders (MSF) staff, and wounded dozens more in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz last week.
"US Forces-Afghanistan has the authority to make condolence payments and payments toward repair of the hospital. USFOR-A will work with those affected to determine appropriate payments," Cook said in a statement late Saturday.
He said Washington may seek additional authority from the US Congress to that end "if necessary and appropriate."
The wording of "condolence payments" instead of "compensation" signifies the DoD’s denial of legal responsibility for the deaths initially labelled as "collateral damage."
US Commander Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, Gen. John Campbell, admitted this week that the decision to launch an airstrike against the hospital in Kunduz was a mistake.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, who refused to validate MSF’s claims that the incident was a war crime, said the Pentagon and NATO were investigating the deadly attack.