US Says They ‘Had To’ Bomb Afghanistan Hospital to Get Taliban

Construction site was badly damaged in heavy fighting

Pentagon officials are trying to spin the aftermath of Wednesday’s Bagram attack, in which US airstrikes did major damage to an under renovation hospital near the air base. They are now saying they had no choice but to bomb the hospital to get the Taliban.

The attack saw the Taliban use a suicide car bomb to force their way onto the site, and they dug in defensively for a 10 hour battle. Airstrikes were clearly the most convenient way for the US to kill those Taliban, but given the damage inflicted, it may not have been the most ideal for the construction project.

That’s why the Pentagon is now so eager to blame the Taliban for what happened, which is a go-to reaction, but very much beside the point. The Afghanistan Papers reports about failures in US reconstruction in Afghanistan, after all, wasn’t just lacking a scapegoat. The inability to construct sites without getting the unbearable urge to airstrike them is part and parcel to why nothing ever gets built in US-occupied Afghanistan.

Moreover, the problems don’t stop at the destruction of the site. The Pentagon emphasized how valuable to hospital would’ve eventually been to locals, but it was built right on the outskirts of a US military base, which probably wasn’t the most convenient for the locals, and also made the site a particular target for the Taliban to occupy, and one for US forces to airstrike.

The first US response was to further delay the peace process by pausing the Doha talks to protest the attack, and the second response is to blame the Taliban for the damage done. Neither of these is a solution to a problem, and rather reflect why the Afghan War has gone on so long with no progress.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.