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US strike on hospital was frightening catalogue of errors: MSF

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Kabul: The US investigation into a deadly air strike on a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in Afghanistan showed a “frightening catalogue of errors” by American troops, the charity said today.

The October 3 air raid on the French charity’s hospital during a Taliban offensive in the northern city of Kunduz killed at least 30 people, sparked an avalanche of global condemnation and forced the facility — the only trauma centre in the region — to close.

“The frightening catalogue of errors outlined today illustrates gross negligence on the part of US forces and violations of the rules of war,” said MSF general director Christopher Stokes, responding to the earlier release of a US investigation into the attack that described it as “caused primarily by human error”.

The US commander in Afghanistan John Campbell gave details of the US inquiry earlier Wednesday, describing how a Special Operations AC-130 gunship aircraft hit the hospital instead of a nearby Afghan intelligence compound that was thought to have been commandeered by Taliban fighters.

Campbell blamed the catastrophic accident in part on fatigue of US troops who had been battling the militant offensive in Kunduz for five days, adding that the mistake was “compounded by process and equipment failures”.