November 30, 2015
The United States’ airstrike on a charity-run hospital in Afghanistan raises suspicions that Washington intentionally disregarded the standard rules of engagement, a non-profit Afghan policy research organization says.
“The question remains whether the disregard of these procedures was intentional,” said Kate Clark of Afghan Analysts Network on Monday.
Clark called for an independent international investigation into the US’s October 3 attack on a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, which claimed the lives of 30 people.
MSF reported that several doctors and nurses were killed immediately, and patients who could not move burned to death in the ensuing fire after the AC-130 gunship fired 211 shells at the compound. In its report, the medical charity said the strike lasted for almost one hour.
General John Campbell, the top NATO and US commander in Afghanistan, said the strike was “caused primarily by human error.” He said last Wednesday that individuals involved in the attack had been suspended pending “standard military justice.”
“It appears that what happened on the night of 3 October amounted to a throwing away of the rulebook,” said Clark.
She denounced Campbell for claiming that the US military’s investigation into the strike had been independent because it was carried out by generals who were not under his command.
Clark further said the mistake was “of a far more serious nature than Campbell would have us believe.”
On Thursday, Human Rights Watch demanded for an independent inquiry into the strike. The rights group said “serious questions” remained about “whether the attackers knowingly or recklessly fired on a functioning hospital.”
Dozens of the survivors of a deadly US airstrike say the attack had been intentional and aimed at destroying the structure.
Earlier this month, MSF said it has not yet found any evidence that US fighter jets attacked the hospital by mistake, saying the raid seems to have had no purpose but to “kill and destroy.”