US Military disciplines 16 for error during Kunduz-airstrike
The US Military disciplined 16 US military personnel, including a two-star general, for an error that led to the attack on a hospital in October'15, which killed 42 people in Kunduz, Afghanistan. Reportedly, none of the servicemen were court-martialed and criminal charges weren't filed against them. They received only administrative punishments unlike in other cases in which reprimand or suspension ended a military career.
On 28 September 2015, Taliban captured the transport-hub Kunduz and took the city under control. The militants had seized key buildings, airport, and set thousands of prisoners free. The government had sent troops to fight Taliban, which killed several policemen.
US Air Force AC-130U gunship had attacked the Kunduz Trauma Centre, a hospital operated by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in the Kunduz city, Afghanistan. Reportedly, 22 including the hospital staff, patients and civilians were killed while over 40 were severely injured in the deadly airstrike. MSF demanded an explanation from the US Military, which was investigating the airstrike, for violating the international humanitarian law.
At the Pentagon, General John Campbell stated that Afghan forces had asked for US' support as they were under Taliban fire and requested an airstrike. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) blamed that the airstrike was deliberate as the military was informed about the hospital location. UN Secretary-General-Ban Ki-moon condemned the 'tragic' and 'inexcusable' airstrike on the hospital, which killed several patients, medical personnel, and civilians.
On 6 Oct'15, US President Obama apologized to Doctors Without Borders (MSF); he talked to Afghan President Ghani and expressed his condolences for the terrible attack on the hospital. US Military, NATO, and Afghanistan were investigating the issue.
President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani appointed an investigation team to probe into the circumstances that had led Taliban to capture Kunduz and the US airstrike that destroyed a hospital. The five-member-team was expected to leave to Kunduz to conduct a city-wide probe into the case. Amrullah Saleh-Former National Intelligence Head was appointed to lead the team that would look into the US airstrike matter.
Pentagon stated that the deadly airstrike on a medical facility was primarily caused because of human error. John Campbell-Head of US Forces in Afghanistan said that some servicemen involved had failed to follow the rules of engagement in the operation. He added that the servicemen believed the hospital was a headquarters for Taliban, but later realized the mistake and stopped the attack.
Two servicemen informed the US Congress that Special Forces had ordered an airstrike on Kunduz hospital as they believed that Taliban was using it as a command centre, contradicting military's explanation that they attacked the wrong building due to human error.