The cost of bombing Kunduz
Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General John F. Campbell stands beside a map of the northern Afghan city of Kunduz as he addresses a press conference at Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul on November 25, 2015. (AFP/Massoud Hossaini)
It’s rare for the United States to ever admit that it was wrong; even rarer when that admission is related to the theatre of war. But such an admission has come with the report into the bombing of a hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, on October 2. The hospital was being operated by the Nobel Peace Prize winning organisation Doctors Without Borders and the US air strike killed at least 31 civilians and wounded many more. Medical staff were also killed in the attack. The report into the tragedy has revealed that the events that led to the firing of the air-to-surface missiles were the culmination of a long series of egregious errors. The intended target was a Taliban headquarters nearly half a kilometre away. Afghan national forces on the ground had identified the Taliban headquarters, but US forces believed they were referring to the hospital structure. And yes, even the maps that were used by the US were wrong.
The aircrew and personnel responsible have been suspended and are awaiting disciplinary procedures. Maybe Washington should use some of the money it uses on its technology of war to fund humanitarian groups instead — like Doctors Without Borders.
- MSF demands probe into bombing of Kunduz hospital
- Bomb in Afghanistan’s Kunduz kills at least 21: officials
- Top US commander admits Kunduz bombing was 'mistake'
- Taliban's Kunduz Defense Crumbles as Troops Surrender to Northern Alliance
- Wanted dead, alive, and on camera: Wikileaks is offering $50,000 for Kunduz hospital footage