Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

MSF staff treat injured colleagues and patients in the hospital's safe room after the airstrike. (Photo: MSF)

Pentagon Readies Payouts for Hospital Bombing, But Still Refuses Independent Probe

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has not responded directly, but on Monday reiterated its call for an independent investigation

Nadia Prupis

While ignoring repeated calls for an independent inquiry, the U.S. Department of Defense announced it will make "condolence payments" to the families of victims of a U.S. airstrike on a Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan earlier this month, which killed 22 people.

The Pentagon made its announcement Saturday after two weeks of scrambling to solidify its narrative on the bombing. MSF has labeled the attack a war crime and consistently stated that the airstrike deliberately targeted the hospital, even after the medical charity circulated its coordinates to fighters on both sides.

As the New York Times explained in an article published Sunday, condolence payments are "a way for the United States, without admitting any wrongdoing, to compensate civilians who have been injured, lost a loved one or suffered property damage at the hands of the military."

Though the Pentagon refuses to make available a catalog or record of how often it makes such payments, the Times used public records and media reports to provide a few examples from recent years.

"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," said Pentagon spokesperson Peter Cook. He added that the department would also pay to fix the hospital, although MSF staff withdrew from Kunduz following the bombing.

MSF has not directly responded to the Pentagon's announcement. However, on Monday, the medical charity released a "photo story" of its hospital under attack, which included a series of images from MSF staff around the world holding up messages calling for an independent investigation into the bombing.

Currently, three probes are under way by the U.S. military, Afghan officials, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

However, following the attack, Doctors Without Borders international president Dr. Joanne Liu said that "given the inconsistencies in the U.S. and Afghan accounts.... We cannot rely on only internal military investigations by the U.S., NATO and Afghan forces."

President Barack Obama called MSF officials last week to apologize personally for the airstrike, a rare move by a commander in chief. But MSF rebuffed his statement and called again for the U.S. to consent to an investigation led by the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission (IHFFC).

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Kremlin Says Russia Now Considers US, European Allies 'Hostile States'

"What they are doing is war," declared Dmitry Peskov, a spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Jake Johnson ·

'Dark Money Is Dark Money': Sanders Calls on DNC to Ban Super PAC Cash in Primaries

"A super PAC is a super PAC, whether it is funded by Republican billionaires or Democratic billionaires," said Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Jake Johnson ·

Study Finds Many Existing Oil and Gas Sites Must Be Shut Down to Avert Climate Disaster

"Our findings show that halting new extraction projects is a necessary step, but still not enough to stay within our rapidly dwindling carbon budget," said one researcher.

Jake Johnson ·

'Cancel It, Don't Means Test It!' Omar Says of Student Debt

Progressive lawmakers and other critics continue to warn the Biden administration against the "logistical nightmare" of limiting debt cancellation by income.

Jessica Corbett ·

Trump DOJ Casting Long Shadow Over Biden Admin: Analysis

The Biden administration "should adopt Trump's positions about as often as a stopped clock is accurate," the Revolving Door Project argues.

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo