US says Afghans asked for air strike at Kun­duz hos­pi­tal

Daily Trust - - INTERNATIONAL -

Afghan forces who said they were un­der Tal­iban fire asked for the US air strike that killed 22 peo­ple at a hos­pi­tal in Kun­duz, the US com­man­der in Afghanistan has said.

“An air strike was then called to elim­i­nate the Tal­iban threat and sev­eral civil­ians were ac­ci­den­tally struck,” Gen­eral John Camp­bell said on Mon­day at a press con­fer­ence at the Pen­tagon.

The gen­eral de­clined to com­ment on the rules un­der which the US forces were op­er­at­ing, but he promised a thor­ough and trans­par­ent in­ves­ti­ga­tion and pledged “we’ll hold those re­spon­si­ble ac­count­able and take steps to en­sure mis­takes are not re­peated”.

Doc­tors With­out Borders (MSF) has ques­tioned the US ver­sion of events lead­ing up to the bomb­ing and called for an in­de­pen­dent probe.

“Their de­scrip­tion of the at­tack keeps chang­ing—from col­lat­eral dam­age, to a tragic in­ci­dent, to now at­tempt­ing to pass re­spon­si­bil­ity to the Afghanistan gov­ern­ment,” Christo­pher Stokes, Gen­eral Di­rec­tor of MSF, said in a state­ment.

“There can be no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for this hor­ri­ble at­tack. With such con­stant dis­crep­an­cies in the US and Afghan ac­counts of what hap­pened, the need for a full trans­par­ent in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion

is

ever more crit­i­cal.” The US mil­i­tary had pre­vi­ously re­ported that its own troops were un­der fire and had called in the strike, which was car­ried out by an AC-130 gun­ship. Guinea’s author­i­ties im­posed an overnight cur­few on the sec­ond city of Nz­erekore af­ter clashes left at least one per­son dead, lo­cal media re­port.

Fight­ing broke out on Satur­day af­ter a cam­paign visit from Pres­i­dent Al­pha Conde who is run­ning for re-elec­tion.

Back­ers of the pres­i­dent clashed with sup­port­ers of his ri­val Cel­lou Dalein Diallo in this hotly con­tested city.

Op­po­si­tion par­ties have called for Sun­day’s elec­tion to be post­poned over al­leged ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in the process.

Nz­erekore is the strong­hold of for­mer mil­i­tary junta leader Moussa Dadis Ca­mara, who re­cently at­tempted to re­turn to Guinea from ex­ile to run for pres­i­dent. His party has now en­tered al­liance with Mr Diallo. Pres­i­dent Conde is fac­ing seven chal­lengers in the sec­ond elec­tion since the death of the long-serv­ing leader Lansana Conte.

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Afghans in in Kabul do­nate blood for those in­jured in Kun­duz fight­ing [EPA]

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