New US Commander in Afghanistan Apologizes for MSF Hospital Attack

Locals Slam Officials for Accepting Apology on Their Behalf

In an effort designed to distinguish himself from his predecessor, newly appointed US commander in Afghanistan Gen. John Nicholson traveled to the city of Kunduz today to meet with officials and offer a formal apology for last year’s attack on a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in the area, a strike that killed 42 civilians.

Gen. Nicholson’s apology is in stark contrast to his predecessor, Gen. John Campbell, who offered a series of conflicting excuses for the attack and expressions of “regret” short of an apology. Nicholson insisted he wanted to “deeply apologize” and ask for forgiveness.

Which is fueling some controversy in Kunduz, as Afghan government officials who he met with accepted the apology on behalf of families who lost people in the US attack, and those families aren’t nearly so receptive to an apology they see coming six months too late.

Doctors Without Borders has harshly criticized the US attack, and demanded an international investigation. President Obama has ruled out allowing such a probe, and indications are that the internal Pentagon probe is the only one that will ever happen.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of