Washington, Nov 25 (IANS) Commander of US forces in Afghanistan John Campbell said on Wednesday that a deadly US airstrike on an Afghan hospital last month was “caused primarily by human error”, admitting that some members of US forces involved in the incident did not follow the rules of engagement.
“The medical facility was misidentified as a target by US personnel who believed they were striking a different building several hundred meters away where there were reports of combatants,” said Campbell in a Pentagon briefing from Afghanistan, Xinhua reported.
“The personnel who requested the strike and those who executed it from the air did not undertake appropriate measures to verify that the facility was a legitimate military target,” added Campbell, calling the incident “tragic but avoidable”.
A US AC-130 gunship on October 3 devastated an Afghan hospital run by Doctors Without Borders, an international medical aid agency also known by its French language acronym MSF, killing 12 medical staff and 10 patients and wounding more than three dozen patients.
According to the MSF, precise GPS coordinates of the hospital were provided to the US and Afghan authorities days prior to the bombing.
During the 25-minute period of airstrike, the US warplane fired 211 shells at the hospital compound despite the continued efforts by the MSF to contact US military personnel.