Saturday’s US airstrike against a Doctors Without Borders hospital on the outskirts of Kunduz has become a major controversy for US officials in the days that followed, with US commander Gen. John Campbell admitting Monday that previous claims that US troops had come under attack were false.
Rather, Campbell says that the Afghan military had requested the airstrike against the hospital, an attack which killed 22 people, including 12 members of the Doctors Without Borders staff. Campbell did not address previous claims the stirke was “an accident.”
Doctors Without Borders lashed the latest comments, saying they were an attempt by the US to pass responsibility for the attack, saying that the US dropped the bombs and thus remains responsible for the targets it hits, no matter who asked them to hit them.
The Afghan government has been defending the attack, with the Kunduz governor claiming the hospital was “a Taliban base” and the Defense Ministry labeling the slain hospital workers and patients as “armed terrorists.”
The Taliban captured Kunduz itself a week ago, and fighting is ongoing in the area to try to reclaim the city. Yet the focus on attacking a hospital, and ultimately forcing Doctors Without Borders to close the facility, suggests the Afghan government may believe the battle is a losing one, and is simply trying to reduce the value of the area by damaging key infrastructure.