Press Secretary Josh Earnest confirmed today that President Obama has apologized to Doctors Without Borders for the airstrike last week that resulted in the death of 22 people, including aid workers.
Last weekend, the U.S. military confirmed to have launched an attack against Taliban agents in Afghanistan, and that it might have resulted in “collateral damage.” Following reports that fighters were holed up in a building in Kunduz, a strike was launched and a combination of doctors and patients were killed when the hospital got caught in the crossfire.
“When we make a mistake, we’re honest about it, we own up to it, we apologize where necessary as the president did in this case,” Earnest said this morning. “We implement the kinds of changes that make it less likely that those kinds of mistakes will occur in the future.”
In the days following the attack, the Pentagon, NATO and the Afghan government have announced intentions to launch probes on the incident. CNN reported that the Doctors’ international presidentJoanne Liu has called the bombing a war crime, and is demanding an independent inquiry for any broken laws of international warfare.
“[The strike] was not just an attack on our hospital, it was an attack on the Geneva Conventions” Liu said. “Governments up to now have been too polite or afraid to set a precedent. The tool exists, and it is time it is activated.”
“The U.S. attack on the hospital in Kunduz was the biggest loss of life for our organization in an airstrike…Tens of thousands of people in Kunduz can no longer receive medical care now when they need it most. Today we say: enough. Even war has rules.”