Group renews push for hospital bombing probe on anniversary

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A month after a U.S. airstrike hit a hospital in Afghanistan and killed 30 people, Doctors Without Borders held memorials around the globe to push for an independent investigation into the bombing.

“For us, it is really important that we keep the spotlight on it, because otherwise it will fall into what I call forgotten causes,” the organization’s international president, Joanne Liu, said Tuesday at an event in Geneva, according to Agence France Presse.

In addition to the Geneva memorial, which reportedly attracted about 250 people and was punctuated by chants of “stop bombing hospitals,” Doctors Without Borders officials and supporters gathered in New York and London.

On Oct. 3, U.S. forces carried out an airstrike in Kunduz, Afghanistan, that hit the Doctors Without Borders hospital. U.S. officials have said the airstrike was requested by Afghan forces under fire from the Taliban and that the hospital was hit by mistake.

The bombing killed 13 Doctors Without Borders staff members and 10 patients, according to the charity. Seven bodies were not identified.

Pentagon, NATO and Afghan officials are investigating the bombing.

But Doctors Without Borders also wants an investigation by the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission, which can’t investigate without U.S. and Afghan approval.

Some Democratic lawmakers have also joined in the call for the investigation.

U.S. officials have resisted calls for an independent probe, pledging that the three investigations underway will be thorough and transparent.

On Tuesday, Lui told the news service that her organization has not been updated on any of the investigations.

She reiterated that the commission’s investigation would not be for punishment, but rather establish facts to ensure something similar doesn’t happen again. 

“We are not after a state or another state,” she said. “What we are after is the safeguard of medical humanitarian space in the chaos of war.”

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