The Pentagon is admitting that investigators deliberately crashed through a closed gate last week at the Doctors Without Borders hospital compound in Afghanistan where a U.S. airstrike killed at least 22 people.
Navy Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters that an Afghan armored vehicle carrying U.S. personnel drove through the gate during a visit to determine the compound's structural integrity.
“They did it,” said Davis, a Pentagon spokesman. “They shouldn't have. They should have coordinated ahead of time, and they're going to make it right and make sure that that gate is repaired."
Davis said the car didn’t stop to open the gate because investigators came under fire during a previous visit to the hospital after the bombing.
Those in the car also mistakenly believed Doctors Without Borders personnel were not there. The personnel that were there "were understandably not happy that we had broken in,” Davis said.
In a statement Thursday after the incident, Doctors Without Borders blasted the U.S. military for the “intrusion.”
“Their unannounced and forced entry damaged property, destroyed potential evidence and caused stress and fear,” the charity said.
Davis also said that he expects a report on the casualties of the bombing to be released by midweek. That report will only look at whether there were civilian casualties and whether the causalities were caused by the airstrike.
U.S. officials have said the airstrike carried out on Oct. 3 was requested by Afghan forces under fire from the Taliban and that the hospital was mistakenly hit.
Doctors Without Borders originally said 12 of its staff members and 10 patients were killed in the strike. Another two staffers are presumed dead, the charity said.
A more detailed preliminary investigation on the airstrike to determine who is at fault is due in a couple weeks, Davis said.