Punishing 16, Pentagon Says Mistakes Led to Hospital Attack in Afghanistan
Mistakes by the crew flying an AC-130 gunship, compounded by equipment and procedural failures, led to the devastating attack on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan last year, the Defense Department announced Friday, and 16 American military personnel, including a general officer, have been punished for their roles in the strike.
The punishments for the Oct. 3 attack, which killed 42 people, will be “administrative actions” only, and none of those being disciplined will face criminal charges because the attack was determined to be unintentional. The punishments include suspension and removal from command as well as letters of reprimand, which can seriously damage or end a career.
The new top officer of the military’s Central Command, Gen. Joseph L. Votel, made the announcement during a Pentagon news conference. He said the military had conducted “a thorough investigation,” which was “painstaking” in seeking an “accurate account” of what had occurred.