News World Obama apologises for Kunduz hospital bombing

Obama apologises for Kunduz hospital bombing

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US President Barack Obama has apologised to both Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and the Afghanistan government for striking trauma centre in Kunduz on Saturday.

However, the international president of the MSF has labelled the actions a war crime and called for an external inquiry.

The US military has offered a series of shifting explanations for the bombing raid, initially using the phrase “collateral damage”, to now admitting that the strike was a mistake.

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The airstrike hit MSF’s trauma centre, killing 12 staff and 10 patients and injuring 37 others.

The MSF described patients burning to death in their beds.

MSF executive Jason Cone calls for an independent inquiry in NYC. Photo: Getty

As a result of the strike, the trauma centre was forced to shut, preventing the dissemination of vital medical treatment in the embattled city.

On Wednesday, Mr Obama called international president of MSF Joanne Liu to apologise for the mistake.

The President assured Liu that the Pentagon “would provide thorough and objective accounting of the facts and circumstances of the incident,” according to White House spokesperson Josh Earnest.

Three investigations – by the US military, NATO and Afghan officials – are currently underway, yet Ms Liu stressed the need for an external inquiry.

“This was not just an attack on our hospital – this was an attack on the Geneva Conventions,” Ms Liu told reporters in Geneva.

“This can not be tolerated.”

The airstrike came days after Taliban fighters invaded Kunduz.

Jason Cone, US executive of the medical charity, told the Guardian they had been given no prior warning of the airstrike.

It has been suggested that the question of prior warning could be the factor which decides whether the US contravened rules of war, as a 2015 Pentagon manual on adherence to rules of war explicitly requires it.

Protection of hospitals is a longstanding principle of humanitarian law.

– With AAP

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