War on Terrorism

Thursday, November 05, 2015

DoD Receives Initial Report of Kunduz Hospital Strike



By Cheryl Pellerin DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, November 5, 2015 — Defense Department officials have received and read a 13-page initial review conducted by Doctors Without Borders of the Oct. 3 strike at their hospital in Kunduz, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said here today.

A full investigation is underway in coordination with Afghanistan’s government to “determine exactly what happened” when the hospital came under fire, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on the day of the strike.

“We appreciate [Doctors Without Borders] sharing this report with us in advance of its release,” Davis told defense reporters, “and it is being made available to our investigators who continue their efforts.”

Initial Statement

In an initial statement Oct. 3, Army Col. Brian Tribus, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said U.S. forces conducted an airstrike in Kunduz at 2:15 a.m. local time that “may have caused collateral damage to a nearby medical facility.”

A statement later that day said the airstrike was targeting insurgents who were directly firing on U.S. service members advising and assisting Afghan security forces in the city, near a Doctors Without Borders facility.

“Since this tragic incident we have worked closely with [Doctors Without Borders] to determine the facts surrounding it,” Davis said, noting that yesterday Resolute Support Commander Army Gen. John F. Campbell met in Kabul with Doctors Without Borders representatives.

Investigation Continues

“We continue to work closely with [Doctors Without Borders] in identifying the victims, both those killed and wounded, so that we can conclude our investigations and proceed with follow-on actions, to include condolence payments,” Davis added.

The department also is committed to working with Doctors Without Borders to determine the full extent of damage to the hospital so it can be repaired in full, he said.

The NATO Resolute Support Combined Civilian Casualty Assessment Team, or CCAT, investigation is ongoing and is being conducted simultaneously with the U.S. investigation, which is being conducted in accordance with Army Regulation 15-6, Davis said.

Army Regulation 15-6

Army Regulation 15-6, according to Army manuals and documents, establishes procedures for investigations and boards of officers. AR 15-6 procedures may be used on their own, such as in an investigation to determine facts and circumstances, or they may be incorporated by reference into directives governing specific kinds of investigations, such as line-of-duty investigations.

Davis said that when the 15-6 investigation is complete it will go to U.S. Central Command and officials there will formally review and release the report.

A key element of the investigation still underway is the effort to identify the casualties, he said, noting that the investigators are working closely with Doctors Without Borders on that.

“We’re committed to conducting investigations that are thorough and transparent,” Davis said, adding that the department leadership again expresses their “deepest condolences to the families of those affected by this tragic incident.”

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