US troops disciplined over Afghan hospital bombing

About 16 US military personnel are disciplined for missile strikes on civilian hospital in Kunduz that killed 42 people.

About 16 US military personnel, including one general, have been disciplined in relation to the bombing of a civilian hospital in Afghanistan last year that killed 42 people, a senior US official said.

No criminal charges were filed and the soldiers and officers received administrative punishments, the official said on Thursday.

A number of those punished for the attack on the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) facility in the northern city of Kunduz are US special operations forces.

While none of those punished was court-martialled, in many cases a non-judicial punishment, such as a letter of reprimand or suspension, can effectively end a military career.

The officials were not authorised to discuss the matter publicly, so spoke on condition of anonymity, the Associated Press reported.

The Pentagon is expected to release the full report on the investigation on Friday.

‘Missed chances’

Last month, more than a dozen mostly administrative US military personnel were disciplined in connection with the bombing.

The hospital, run by the medical charity in Kunduz, was attacked by a US Air Force special operations AC-130 gunship, one of the most lethal in the US arsenal. MSF has called the attack “relentless and brutal.”

Last November, the US military said the crew of the AC-130, which is armed with side-firing cannons and guns, had been dispatched to hit a Taliban command centre in a different building, 400 metres away from the hospital.

Officials have said the accident was caused by human error, and that many chances to avert the incident were missed.

The attack came as US military advisers were helping Afghan forces retake Kunduz, which had fallen to the Taliban in September. It was the first major city to fall since the Taliban were expelled from Kabul in 2001.

Afghan officials claimed that the hospital had been overrun by the Taliban, but no evidence of that has surfaced. The hospital was destroyed and MSF ceased operations in Kunduz.

Source: AP