After Deadly Bombing, Doctors Without Borders Has This Demand For Obama

Photo: Wakil Kohsar/Getty Images.
A young Afghan boy wounded in the bombing recovers at a hospital.
Doctors Without Borders has launched an online petition urging President Obama to allow an independent probe into this month's deadly bombing of one of its hospitals in Afghanistan.

Twelve staffers and 10 patients were killed in the October 3 bombing conducted by U.S. military forces in Kunduz. Dozens more were injured. U.S. officials have said the strike was a "mistake." President Barack Obama issued a rare public apology to the group and pledged to work with NATO and Afghan officials on an investigation into the bombing.

But Doctors Without Borders, known internationally as Médecins Sans Frontières, wants an independent probe into the bombing. It says allied forced had been informed of its location just days before the strike, as violence around the Northern Afghanistan city escalated.

Last week, the charity called for a first-of-its-kind independent inquiry into whether the strike constituted a violation of international humanitarian law.

That call has gone unanswered by U.S. and Afghan officials, who must sign off on the proposed inquiry by the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission.

Doctors Without Borders ramped up its campaign for answers this week, launching a petition on the website Change.org. It is aiming to attract 100,000 supporters to sign its letter to Obama.

"Respect for the laws of war is what protects our staff and patients in conflict zones throughout the world," Jason Cone, executive director for Doctors Without Borders USA, said in a statement. "There must be an independent and impartial investigation to establish the facts of this horrific attack on our hospital."
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Respect for the laws of war is what protects our staff and patients in conflict zones throughout the world.

Jason Cone, Doctors Without Borders
When asked Wednesday whether the Obama administration would agree to the independent inquiry, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the president is focused on the results of three ongoing investigations, including one by the Department of Defense.

"The President has informed the chain of command that he expects a thorough, objective, and transparent review to be conducted," Earnest said during Wednesday's press briefing. "And the president, since day one, has called for a full accounting of what exactly occurred on that terrible evening. And the president has confidence that that's what will be yielded in that Department of Defense investigation."

The tragic bombing occurred amid increased fighting and gains by the Taliban in the region. On Thursday, Obama announced that the U.S. now plans to keep troops on the ground through 2017, instead of withdrawing completely by next year, due to the fragile security situation.
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