The Slatest

In Worst News Dump Ever, U.S. General Explains Cause of Doctors Without Borders Airstrike

A wounded Afghan boy, a survivor of the U.S. airstrikes on the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, sits on his hospital bed in Kabul.

Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images

In what amounted to a ridiculous Thanksgiving news dump, U.S. officials issued an explanation on Wednesday for last month’s U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistan that killed 30 people at a Doctors Without Borders hospital. Ultimately, Gen. John Campbell, the top NATO and U.S. commander in Afghanistan, said the attack was a matter of American military personnel firing on the wrong target.

More from CNN:

The October 3 mission had several technical and human errors, several administration officials acknowledge. A U.S. military fact-finding investigation into the incident detailed the mistakes and revealed that the U.S. aircraft targeted the wrong facility.

“The proximate cause of this tragedy was the direct result of avoidable human error, compounded by process and equipment failures,” Campbell told reporters in Kabul Wednesday.

“U.S. forces would never intentionally (strike) a hospital” or other protected sites, he said.

The report determined that U.S. forces directly involved in the airstrike did not know the compound targeted was the Doctors Without Borders hospital, and that the facility was misidentified as a target by U.S. personnel who believed they were striking a nearby building where there were reports of insurgents taking shelter.

The personnel most closely involved in the accidental strike have been suspended and are awaiting an adjudication process, Campbell announced.

CNN reports that an official familiar with Campbell’s thinking says that he feels further disciplinary action may be warranted. Campbell could discipline the military personnel involved himself, or leave such punishment to the various military services to which each service member belonged.