Pentagon Calls Afghan Hospital Strike A Mistake
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The US military took responsibility for a deadly air strike on a hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz, calling it a mistake in the most direct acknowledgement yet by the US government that the strike on the hospital was carried out by US forces.
Saturday's strike on an Afghan hospital run by Doctors Without Borders, or Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), killed 22 people and deeply angered the medical charity. MSF officials have blamed the United States, demanding an independent investigation into an attack it called a war crime.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the Pentagon "deeply regrets" the loss of life.
"The US military takes the greatest care in our operations to prevent the loss of innocent life, and when we make mistakes, we own up to them. That's exactly what we're doing right now," Carter, who was traveling in Europe, said in a statement.
"We will do everything we can to understand this tragic incident, learn from it, and hold people accountable as necessary," he said.
Earlier in Washington, the American commander of international forces in Afghanistan, Army General John Campbell, called the strike a mistake made within the US chain of command.
The comments by Carter and Campbell were the most direct acknowledgement yet by the US government that the strike on the hospital was carried out by US forces. On Monday, Campbell said only that US forces had responded to a request for support from Afghan forces.
In testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Campbell also made clear he favored a rethink of a plan to withdraw almost all US troops by the end of next year.