With myriad stories about the US attack on the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in Kunduz already discredited, Afghan claims of coming under fire from the site, which officials are still referring to as a “Taliban base,” are also out the window, with officials now conceding that there is no evidence of any fire coming from the hospital.
US officials are also shifting gears on their narrative too, presenting the special forces units deployed outside of the hospital, and who ultimately okayed the strike, as “new” to the area, having been deployed from elsewhere in Asia. Pentagon officials referred to the incident as a “hasty response” to an Afghan request.
The officials didn’t offer too many details on where the troops came from, though the First Special Forces Group, which is where the unit was from, has been conducting a lot of training operations in southeast Asia, Iraq, and the Philippines. There was no explanation for their sudden deployment to Afghanistan.
But even excuses potentially make somebody look bad, and other officials were quick to dismiss the notion that the newly deployed troops were in any way unprepared for the war, saying 15 years into Afghanistan the troops are “fungible” and that couldn’t have been the reason for the strike.
The first preliminary internal report on the strike is likely to be finished by the Pentagon soon, though officials are continuing to downplay the chances that anyone in particular did anything wrong, while simultaneously presenting their internal probe as all-encompassing and above reproach, important since the White House is desperate to avoid an international investigation.
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