US military punishes 16 over 2015 Afghan hospital bombing
WASHINGTON, April 28 (Reuters) - The U.S. military will announce on Friday that has it taken disciplinary action against 16 service members over a deadly Oct. 3 air strike in Afghanistan that destroyed a hospital run by the international medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres, U.S. officials tell Reuters.
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The disclosure of the nonjudicial punishments will come during the release of the findings of a U.S. military investigation into the incident, which will broadly conclude that the strike was a tragic mistake, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
That finding is consistent with the results of a preliminary investigation released by the U.S. military in November, when commanders stressed that American forces did not intentionally target the hospital.
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Instead, General John Campbell, who was then-head of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, described a series of blunders that allowed the American forces to target the hospital - even though it was on a no-strike list.
MSF, known as Doctors Without Borders in English, had initially publicly cast doubt on the idea that the strike could have been a mistake.
The nonjudicial punishments include letters of reprimand, which could have a career-ending effect on the service members involved.
"These people are not promotable," said one U.S. official. (Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Jonathan Oatis, Bernard Orr)