US to pay families of Kunduz air strike victims

Pentagon says US to make condolence payments to victims families over Kunduz hospital bombings

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Image of placed candles outside the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland October 7, 2015.

The United States will pay compensation to the families of the victims who lost their lives in the US air strikes on a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz last week, according a statement from the Pentagon.

Following the attack, MSF confirmed that 12 staff members and 10 patients were killed and more than 30 people were injured.

"The Department of Defense believes it is important to address the consequences of the tragic incident at the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan," Pentagon spokesman, Peter Cook said in a statement on Saturday.

"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 US military operations."

He also announced that United States will pay to repair the hospital, which was damaged by the US air strikes.

"US Forces-Afghanistan has the authority to make condolence payments and payments toward repair of the hospital. USFOR-A will work with those affected to determine appropriate payments. If necessary and appropriate, the administration will seek additional authority from the Congress," Cook said.

According to Cook, amount of the compensation has not been determined yet.  

A day after the attack, on September 4, US President Barack Obama called the International President of Doctors Without Borders, Dr. Joanne Liu to express his "deepest condolences" for the victims of the strikes.

During the phone call Obama said that the strike was a mistake.

Shortly after Obama’s statement on the attack, Gen. John Campbell, commander of US forces in Afghanistan said that the hospital was hit accidentally by the US Army.  

MSF International President, Dr. Joanne Liu stated "We received President Obama's apology today for the attack against our trauma hospital in Afghanistan."

"However, we reiterate our request that the US government consent to an independent investigation led by the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission to establish what happened in Kunduz, how it happened, and why it happened," she said.

US military, NATO and Afghan officials have all launched investigations regarding the incident.

However, the international humanitarian organisation insists that a hearing must be conducted by an independent international commission, saying the bombing raid contravened the Geneva convention.

Doctors Without Borders provides medical care in conflict areas without any commercial or political purpose, since it was founded in 1971.

TRTWorld and agencies