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Pentagon To Make "Condolence Payments" To Victim Families Of Bombed Hospital

The Department of Defense said it would make payments to the families of civilians killed in the U.S. bombing of the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan.

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The Pentagon will offer "condolence payments" to the families of civilians killed in the U.S. bombing of a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, officials said Saturday.

The bombing killed 22 people, including 10 patients and 12 staff members, last week, prompting the international organization to ask for an independent war crime investigation on the bombing.

President Barack Obama apologized to Doctors Without Borders and, on Saturday, the Department of Defense announced it would make condolence payments to the families of the civilians killed in the deadly attack.

"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," the statement read.

The Pentagon said U.S. Forces-Afghanistan would work with the families to determine the "appropriate payments" that would be made to the families.

Sandra Murillo, a spokeswoman for Doctors Without Borders (which is also known as Medécins Sans Frontières), told BuzzFeed News on Sunday that the group had not officially received any details of the compensation.

She noted, though, that under international humanitarian law "the offer of compensation at this stage cannot preempt the result of present and future investigations, nor preclude any further claims or rights of those affected by the U.S. airstrike."

"MSF reiterates its call for independent investigation by the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission," she said.

"As for the offer to make funds available to repair the hospital, MSF’s longstanding policy is to not accept funding from any governments for its work in Afghanistan and other conflicts around the world," Murillo said. "This policy allows us to work independently without taking sides and provide medical care to anyone who needs it. This will not change."


The Department of Defense is currently investigating the bombing, which Obama told Doctors Without Borders President Dr. Joanne Liu would remain thorough and transparent.

NATO and the Afghan government are also conducting an investigation.

But the medical charity has criticized U.S. for changing the narrative of how the bombing occurred.

U.S. military officials originally said it conducted an airstrike near the hospital against insurgents firing at American soldiers.

On Monday, Gen. John F. Campbell said it was Afghan forces who were under fire and requested the strike.

"Their description of the attack keeps changing — from collateral damage, to a tragic incident, to now attempting to pass responsibility to the Afghanistan government," General Director Christopher Stokes said.

The Department of Defense has made condolence payments to families of civilians killed in military action since 2001.

Salvador Hernandez is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Salvador Hernandez at salvador.hernandez@buzzfeed.com.

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