US Troops in Afghanistan Hospital Attack ‘Confused’

Troops Didn't Have Proper Maps, Were Unclear on Rules of Engagement

Additional details of the heavily redacted report on the October US attack on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, which killed 42 civilians, showed a level of confusion on the ground that soldiers involved say was a recipe for disaster.

Troops involved in the deployment on the ground said they were extremely confused about the rules of engagement for the war, repeatedly asking commanders “how far do you want us to go” in helping Afghan forces on the ground. The nominally non-combat troops were simply asked “how far do you want to go?”

Confused, no instruction given from commanders and deployed without proper maps of the area, the troops ultimately called in airstrikes and the plane, itself having myriad technical issues and with an ill-trained crew, attacked a hospital.

The number of excuses that combined to make such an attack happen may explain the lack of charges for specific people in the incident, but also underscores the disastrously disorganized situation among occupation forces in the country, which soldiers called a “recipe for disaster.” Indeed, disaster happened, and the question that looms largest is how, or even whether, the Pentagon can fix so many calamitous mistakes.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of