American special operations analysts were gathering intelligence on the facility because they believed it was being used by a Pakistani operative to coordinate Taliban activity.
U.S. authorities knew they were attacking a hospital facility in Afghanistan days before they conducted the operation on Oct. 3, the Associated Press reported on Thursday.
According to the report the special operations analysts were gathering intelligence on the facility because they believed it was being used by a Pakistani operative to coordinate Taliban activity.
U.S. fighter jets struck the Afghan hospital run by Doctors Without Borders, an international charity group based in Geneva, Switzerland.
The attack killed 12 medical staff members and at least 10 patients, three of them children, and injured at least 37 people. At least 33 people are still missing after the airstrikes.
The Pentagon first denied the attack. Then it changed its story to put the blame on Afghan army officials. The U.S. military announced it will make “condolence payments” to the injured and the families of 22 people who lost their lives in the attack and that it will also conduct an investigation into the incident.
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When an American tank forced its way onto the grounds the Kunduz trauma hospital in Afghanistan destroyed in an airstrike earlier this month on Thursday, The Guardian reports, it may have destroyed evidence of potential war crimes.
In a statement after Thursday’s “intrusion,” MSF said that they were told that the tank had been carrying investigators from the U.S.-NATO-Afghan coalition: “Their unannounced and forced entry damaged property, destroyed potential evidence and caused stress and fear.”
Ten patients and 12 staff members of Médécins sans Frontières (MSF), or Doctors without Borders, were killed in the October 3rd attack. According to an Associated Press report earlier on Thursday, U.S. intelligence analysts knew that the target of the attack was a hospital.
Meanwhile, the International Humanitarian Fact Finding Committee (IHFFC), an independent humanitarian commission created under the Geneva Conventions in 1991, is waiting for confirmation from the United States and Afghan governments that they will cooperate with an independent investigation.
“The commission has already offered its services to the governments of the USA and Afghanistan,” a Swiss foreign ministry spokesman told Reuters in an email on Wednesday. “Any investigation would require the agreement of both governments, however.”
“We have received apologies and condolences, but this is not enough. We are still in the dark about why a well-known hospital full of patients and medical staff was repeatedly bombarded for more than an hour,” Dr. Joanne Liu, MSF’s International President, said. “We need to understand what happened and why.”
Reuters reports that a White House spokesman said that Obama—who apologized to MSF last week—assured Liu that a U.S. investigation would “provide a transparent, thorough and objective accounting” of the attack.