US to pay victims of Afghan bombing

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The United States will “make condolence payments” to the families of those killed last week in an errant strike on a trauma hospital in Afghanistan, the Pentagon announced Saturday.

A Defense Department spokesman Peter Cook said it’s “important to address the consequences of the tragic incident” which killed 22 people at the facility in Kunduz, which was run by the international aid group Doctors Without Borders.

{mosads}”One step the Department can take is to make condolence payments to civilian non-combatants injured and the families of civilian non-combatants killed as a result of U.S. military operations,” Cook said in a statement.

“U.S. Forces-Afghanistan has the authority to make condolence payments and payments toward repair of the hospital,” he added. “USFOR-A will work with those affected to determine appropriate payments. If necessary and appropriate, the administration will seek additional authority from the Congress.”

The Oct. 3 airstrike was carried out by the U.S. military responding to a request from Afghan forces under fire from the Taliban. The victims included 12 members of Doctors Without Borders staff and 10 patients, including three children.

President Obama has apologized personally for the tragedy, placing a call Wednesday to Dr. Joanne Liu, international president of Doctors Without Borders. But the gesture did little to mollify the group, which is calling for an independent investigation — headed by the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission — “to establish what happened in Kunduz, how it happened and why it happened.”

A probe by that commission — founded in 1991 to investigate violations of international humanitarian law — would require the consent of both the United States and Afghanistan.

Separate investigations have already been launched by NATO, the Afghanistan government and the Pentagon.

Tags Afghan hospital bombing Afghanistan Kunduz War in Afghanistan

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