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US suspends military hospital involved in bombing

The commander of US forces in Afghanistan suspended military personnel "more closely" involved in the bombing of a hospital of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in the city of Kunduz, which occurred last month.

General John Campbell said in teleconference with reporters from the Pentagon that an official investigation showed that the October 3 bombing was the "direct result of human error," and that US forces directly involved in the attack did not know they were aiming a hospital, DPA reported.

Instead they believed they were attacking another target, located several hundred meters from the site of the attack.

The military personnel who ordered the attack and those who executed not take the "appropriate measures" to verify the target, Campbell said.

"Those individuals most closely associated with the incident have been suspended from their duties, subtracting even consider and provide administrative and disciplinary measures," Campbell said without providing details of the personnel involved.

The report of the US military on the incident admits errors, including technical problems that prevented communication between the headquarters and the aircraft that carried out the attack, and human error by not sending the barracks call MSF in which warning they were under fire by airline personnel.

"The report found that the probable cause of this tragedy was a direct result of an avoidable human error, compounded by technical and procedural flaws," Campbell said.

Doctors Without Borders, who described the incident as a war crime, said the official investigation leaves "more questions than answers" and insisted to conduct an independent investigation.

"The appalling catalog of errors outlined today illustrates gross negligence by the US forces and violations of the laws of war," MSF general director Christopher Stokes said.

"The destruction of a protected building without verifying the target, in this case a hospital in the full operation of medical staff and patients, can not be minimized as an individual human error or violations of the US rules of engagement," said Stokes.

Meanwhile, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani welcomed the report's findings and said his government is confident that the investigation was thorough and will help prevent similar tragedies in the future.

"This US research does not ignore any evidence, admits mistakes made, and allow authorities to learn from mistakes and make those involved accountable when appropriate," he said in a statement.

Earlier this month, MSF had said there was military justification for the bombing of the hospital in northern Afghanistan by US forces that left 30 deaths among patients and staff of the organization.

MSF said there were armed fighters inside the hospital at the time of the bombing, and that the medical center was operating as a center of attention for serious injuries.

The air strikes of the US in Kunduz were initiated because of the siege of the Taliban in that city in northern Afghanistan on 28 September, which represented the biggest win of the group since his ouster after the invasion of the country in 2001 by a US-led coalition.

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