US special operations analysts believed the MSF hospital in Kunduz which was destroyed by a US military attack was being used by a Pakistani operative to coordinate Taliban activity, according to the Associated Press.
A US air strike on an MSF hospital had killed at least 22 patients and Doctors Without Borders staff and left many others seriously wounded, days after Taliban insurgents overran the northern Afghan city. The US had initially said the attack was to protect US troops engaged in a firefight and has since said it was a mistake.
According to a former intelligence official, the special operations analyst had assembled a document containing maps with the hospital circled, along with indications that intelligence agencies were tracking the location of the Pakistani operative and activity reports based on overhead surveillance. The intelligence suggested the hospital was being used as a Taliban command and control center and may have housed heavy weapons.
Further, the former intelligence official said that some US analysts considered the strike to be justified as the Pakistani operative had been killed in the attack. The analysts believe he was working for the Inter-Service Intelligence directorate.
However, no evidence has publically been shared to support Pakistan’s involvement or the death of the Pakistani who is supposed to be working with the Taliban.
Top US officer in Afghanistan, General John Campbell, has since said the strike was a mistake but he has not explained how the strike happened or who gave final approval for it. He has also called for all US personnel in Afghanistan to be retrained on the rules governing the circumstances under which strikes are acceptable.
President Barack Obama has apologised and ordered a full investigation into the incident. White House spokesperson Josh Earnest said, “Questions about what the Defense Department knew about the clinic and whether it was communicated to personnel operating the gunship would be part of the Pentagon’s investigation.”
Doctors Without Borders has condemned the bombing as a war crime. The organisation says the strike killed 12 hospital staff and 10 patients and it insists that no gunmen or weapons were in the building. They have called for an international probe into the bombing.
Doctors Without Borders officials said the US airplane made five separate strafing runs over an hour, directing heavy fire on the main hospital building, which contained the emergency room and intensive care unit.
Meinie Nicolai, president of the operational directorate of Doctors Without Borders said, “What the new details suggest is that the hospital was intentionally targeted, killing at least 22 patients and MSF staff. This would amount to a premeditated massacre.”
This article originally appeared on The Japan Times
US troops use vehicle to force gate at bombed Afghan hospital
US troops drove a military vehicle through the gates of an Afghan hospital hit this month in a deadly air strike, in an incident that Doctors Without Borders said Friday may have damaged evidence relating to the attack.
The armoured personnel carrier forced its way through the metal gate of the compound in Kunduz on Thursday afternoon and damaged the barrier, apparently unaware that Doctors Without Borders (MSF) staff including country director Guilhem Molinie were at the hospital, an AFP reporter saw.
The US delegation began negotiating with several foreign MSF doctors, insisting upon being allowed into the hospital as part of their investigation into the catastrophic October 3 strike that killed at least 24 people.
The discussions lasted for around an hour and a half, with the troops allowed to enter only after laying down their arms.
An MSF spokesperson confirmed the intrusion, adding it occurred “despite an agreement made between MSF and the joint investigation team that MSF would be given notice before each step of the procedure involving the organisation’s personnel and assets”.
“Their unannounced and forced entry damaged property, destroyed potential evidence and caused stress and fear for the MSF team,” she said.
A NATO spokesperson said: “We are aware of the incident and are looking into what happened.”
MSF has called for an impartial investigation into the strike on its hospital by the US, which killed at least 14 staff and 10 patients, with nine others still unaccounted for.
The attack caused global revulsion and caused MSF to close the hospital’s trauma centre, seen as a lifeline in a war-battered region with scant medical care.