US ‘punishments’ for Afghan hospital attack slammed

Kabul—Rights campaigners Friday lambasted US “punishments” handed to officers involved in a catastrophic bombing raid on an Afghan hospital, saying the failure to criminally investigate them is an “injustice and insult” to the victims.
The bombing last October of the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) hospital in Kunduz — which came as NATO-backed Afghan forces clashed with the Taliban for control of the northern city — left 42 people dead, triggering a storm of global criticism.
US officials Thursday said those involved in the strike have been disciplined, with some suspended from duty and others facing “administrative” action such as “negative counselling” or being told not to do something again.
“For good reason the victims’ family members will see this as both an injustice and an insult: the US military investigated itself and decided no crimes had been committed,” Human Rights Watch said in a statement.
“The failure to criminally investigate senior officials liable for the attack is not only an affront to the lives lost at the MSF hospital, but a blow against the rule of law in Afghanistan and elsewhere.”
MSF, which has called repeatedly for an independent international inquiry, said it would seek more details from the US government on the “punishments” before commenting.—AFP

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