Global Independent Analytics

US says deadly strike on Afghan hospital was avoidable

Deadly human mistake

AlJazeera reports: the attack on Syrian hospital with 30 dead was avoidable and has been caused by human error.

Fatal air strike by the U.S. air force in Kunduz trauma center initially was supposed to hit neighboring Taliban-controlled structure, but the human and technical errors caused the destroy of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Afghan hospital. The said deduction was admitted after release of investigation conducted by U.S. military.

The attack took place on October, 3, in the city of Kunduz. As revealed by the agency, "It is shocking that an attack can be carried out when US forces have neither eyes on a target nor access to a no-strike list, and have malfunctioning communications systems," MSF Director said. He added that the obscene ignorance of America violates rules of war and outlines the fearsome list of errors.

The fact that the target was not verified cannot simply be discharged by the U.S. because fully working hospital with tens of staffers and patients is under protection of the U.S. rules of engagement. At any rate 30 people were murdered and the situation calls for independent investigation.

The informant group which reportedly disclosed the location of the target retracted its staff the day after the incident.

AlJazeera quotes Army General John Campbell: “US forces "did not know the compound was an MSF medical centre. They executed from air and did not take appropriate measures to verify the facility was a military target," Reportedly, “fatigue" and "high operational tempo contributed to this tragedy".

Some of the crew members have been suspended after the strike and more investigations will be coming. In just 17 minutes after the attack was launched at 2:20 AM it has been found out that the fatal error occurred. Brigadier General admits that some mistakes might have been committed, the principles of engagement have been violated and the crew’s reaction to the mistakes has been unbecoming. However, he conveniently forgot to mention that the rules of war have been infringed too.

As assumed by AlJazeera, "The basic tenets of the US law of war that every US force member is taught from basic training onwards includes the principles of proportionality and distinction.”

EXPERT OPINION

Joshua Tartakovsky

GIA expert Panagiotis Papargyris’ fantastic research on the US attack on the Kunduz MSF hospital stated already on November 12 that the US intentionally bombed the hospital. He wrote: “At the time, MSF denounced the US for changing their story four times in four days (indeed, that was the case), accused the perpetrators of committing a war crime, denied that there were armed Taliban or weapons in the hospital and noted that they had repeatedly informed the US army about the position of the hospital. The personnel had also stated that, despite their desperate phone calls to the offices of NATO in Kabul and Washington during the attack, the bombardment continued.” In other words, the attack was not just ‘avoidable’ as the US Department of Defense claims. It was intentional. There is a difference. Al Jazeera is doing a very lousy job in uncovering what took place there.
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Panagiotis Papargyris

From time to time, the US-led occupation forces in Afghanistan commit a crime that simply cannot be buried. The bombing of the MSF hospital was such an example. The issue has been addressed to a large extent on the GIA, so I will not repeat what has already been written.One point that needs to be raised, however, is that this war crime cannot be seen outside the context set by the new “Law of War Manual”, a document of 1,176 pages, drafted by the US Defense Department in June 2015 and made public a few months ago. This manual provides the necessary legal cover for US troops to practically conduct almost any crime without having to worry about possible disciplinary action. I will address this terror manual in detail in future articles, but at this point let me just quote a short passage:“Harm to the following categories of persons and objects would be understood not to prohibit attacks under the proportionality rule: […] (3) human shields." “Proportionality” is decided by the commanding officers on the field: if the commanding officer considers it necessary, the US troops are allowed to strike “targets that are protected by human shields” – that is to kill civilians. A US citizen may very well think that all this talk about the war manual and the actions of his/her country abroad does not actually concern him/her. Afghanistan or Syria are located several thousand miles away, anyway. He/she would do well to recall the armored humvees and the thousands of National Guard and SWAT police that were deployed against the people of Ferguson and Baltimore and realize that unending war abroad and counterrevolution at home are two sides of the same coin. Any preparations against the “enemy” abroad is at the same time a preparation against the “internal enemy.”
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