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Afghanistan Bombing: US Troops Face Punishment For 2015 Hospital Attack

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The US military authorities have issued “administrative punishment” to more than 12 US troops for bombing a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, which killed 42 people last year.

However, no criminal charges have been laid on the US troops responsible for the airstrike by AC-130 Spectre gunship that killed patients and medics at the hospital, Pentagon said. It acknowledged that the air strike was launched on the hospital by mistake.

Some of the officers were reprimanded whereas others were suspended from duty.

A spokesperson for Medecins Sans Frontieres or Doctors Without Borders said that the organization would not comment until Pentagon releases the details publicly, the BBC reported.

The US officials told the AP on Thursday that, the “disciplinary process was nearly complete.” It was obtained from a military inquiry into the airstrike and in a few days, a “partially redacted” results of it is expected to be made public.

The punishments were mainly disciplinary, however, even a letter of reprimand can come in the way of promotion. But those disciplined were mainly officers and enlisted personnel and no general were there in the group.

An investigation into the event blamed the AC-130 crew for “avoidable human error,” which was caused because the crew mistook the hospital for a target by depending on the visual description provided to it by Afghan troops on the ground.

Cockpit recordings, cited in a report in October, indicated that the crew questioned the orders and was not sure about the legitimacy of the target.

According to war laws, a military personnel may refuse to comply with the commanders’ orders if they find it illegitimate by their own judgement, the RT News reported.

The MSF released a formal statement in November that the hospital in Kunduz was not a military objective and did not shelter any militant.

“The MSF rules in the hospital were implemented and respected, including the ‘no weapons’ policy … there were no armed combatants within the hospital compound and there was no fighting from or in the direct vicinity of the trauma centre before the airstrikes,” the statement said. “This is the view from inside the hospital. What we lack is the view from outside the hospital – what happened within the military chains of command.”

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