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October 6, 2015

Human Rights Watch calls for credible investigation over Kunduz airstrike

Afghanistan needs to conduct a credible, independent, and transparent investigation over Kunduz hospital airstrike, the Human Rights Watch has argued.

By Samseer M

Afghanistan needs to conduct a credible, independent, and transparent investigation over Kunduz hospital airstrike, the Human Rights Watch has argued.

Recently, a US airstrike on a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders, an international medical-aid organisation, in Afghanistan killed at least 22 people, leaving many injured.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon stated that the US forces ‘mistakenly struck’ the hospital.

"To ensure that the US inquiry into the MSF hospital bombing is viewed as independent and impartial, the US should create a special independent investigation panel outside the military chain of command."

Currently, Nato, the US Department of Defense and Afghanistan government are conducting investigations into the incident.

Human Rights Watch Asia director Brad Adams said: "There’s no question deadly mistakes were made in the bombing of the MSF hospital.

"Now it’s the responsibility of the US government to take prompt and transparent action to fully compensate the victims of the attack, ensure full accountability for what occurred, and adopt measures to ensure this doesn’t happen again."

Doctors Without Borders, known as Médecins Sans Frontière (MSF) earlier said that they have now told troops involved in the conflict the location of the hospital.

In addition, MSF has also stated that only its own staff and patients were inside the hospital during the time of the attack.

However, Human Rights Watch said that the contradictory statements from officials raise concerns about the credibility of these investigations.

Adams added: "Conflicting accounts of the 3 October airstrikes and the inadequacy of previous US investigations into civilian casualties in Afghanistan raise concerns about the credibility of the proposed investigations.

"To ensure that the US inquiry into the MSF hospital bombing is viewed as independent and impartial, the US should create a special independent investigation panel outside the military chain of command."

MSF earlier said that the organisation is working on the assumption that the attack was a war crime.

Despite demanding a credible investigation, Human Rights Watch also recommended adopting measures to reduce the likelihood of civilian casualties in future.

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