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United States to pay hospital bombing victims

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The Pentagon has announced it will make payments to the families of victims killed in an accidental air raid last week.

A trauma centre belonging to medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) was bombed in the Afghani city of Kunduz, which was recently overrun by Taliban fighters.

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“The Department of Defense believes it is important to address the consequences of the tragic incident at the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said in a statement.

“One step the Department can take is to make condolence payments to civilian non-combatants injured and the families of civilian non-combatants killed as a result of US military operations.”

The USA is authorised to hand out condolence payments through the Commanders’ Emergency Response Program, and has been known to give money to civilian victims of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Lump sum payments including $11,000 for running over a six-year-old Afghani boy’s legs and $2,000 for a child killed in combat operation were obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and reported by The Intercept.

The USA does not consider condolence payments to represent an admission of wrong doing, and there is no official and complete database recording the payments.

After changing its story several times in the aftermath of the attack, including referring to the deaths as “collateral damage”, the Pentagon admitted the bombing was a mistake and president Obama personally phoned the head of MSF to offer his apologies.

The attack on October 3 killed 23 people and wounded 37 others.

Doctors Without Borders US executive Jason Cone last week denounced the strike as a “war crime” and called for an independent inquiry into the incident.

Currently, an internal inquiry is being conducted by the US military and Afghani officials.

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