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Top general on Afghan hospital raid: US brass behind decision to strike

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US General blames US for hospital hitThe top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Campbell, accepted the United States’ responsibility Tuesday for deadly airstrikes on an Afghan hospital in which 22 people were killed, stating that the attack was a “mistake” but that the ultimate decision to shell the facility was made by the U.S. chain of command.

“To be clear, the decision to provide aerial fire was a U.S. decision made within the U.S. chain of command,” he told a Senate committee on Tuesday. It came a day after the U.S. announced that the hospital was hit after a request from local forces, who claimed they were under fire from Taliban fighters at the medical center in the strategic northern city of Kunduz.

Stressing that the U.S. airstrikes on the hospital — which has drawn the ire of the United Nations and medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) — was unintentional, Campbell said, “A hospital was mistakenly struck. We would never intentionally target a protected medical facility.”

On Monday he told reporters that Afghan forces “asked for air support from U.S. air forces” after taking fire from enemy positions.

“An airstrike was then called to eliminate the Taliban threat, and several civilians were accidentally struck,” Campbell said.

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