When President Obama began publicly opposing calls for an international investigation into this month’s US attack on a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, he and other officials started hyping the internal Pentagon report, with pledges of a quick and reliable inquiry, that involved smashing up the already bombed hospital even more.
Today, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced that the preliminary version of the report, which was supposed to come out this week, is “taking longer than expected,” and is being delayed until an unspecified future date.
MSF has been harshly critical of the attack, saying it is a presumptive war crime and requires a credible, independent investigation. They revealed today that the death toll has risen to 25 killed, with another staff member and two more patients having succumbed to injuries sustained in the strike.
The Pentagon has offered myriad, often contradictory, claims about the strike, claiming US troops were under attack, then Afghan troops, then potentially nobody at all, and insisting the attack was a mistake but also deliberate, and confirming that the hospital was known to be a hospital and was not supposed to be attacked.
All the contradictions had been shrugged off on the grounds that a report was coming “soon” that would clarify things, but officials seem to be struggling to get together a remotely plausible excuse, and have decided to just stonewall as long as possible.