Doctors Without Borders was unimpressed Wednesday when President Barack Obama called to personally apologize for dropping bombs on one of its hospitals in Afghanistan.
A powerful and precise gunship fired on the hospital for more than 30 minutes Saturday, killing 22 civilians and destroying the building. Twelve medical staff and three children were among those killed in what the military is calling an accident.
Obama personally called Dr. Joanne Liu, the international president of the group, and apologized Wednesday, reported The New York Times. He expressed his regret, promised a full investigation and “full accounting” of who was to blame, and promised to change military rules of engagement if necessary.
The group was apparently unimpressed, and responded in a brief statement, saying the apology had been “received.” Liu reiterated the group’s call for an independent investigation into what it’s calling a war crime.
The Department of Defense is conducting what the White House said the president believes is an “objective” and “thorough” investigation. The military initially reported the strike was called in to support U.S. troops under direct threat, but then said it was called in by Afghanistan forces. (RELATED: US Changes Story On Doctors Without Borders Bombing)
Obama initially expressed his condolences in a statement referring to the strike as a “tragic incident,” but decided to personally apologize after the U.S. commander in Afghanistan testified Wednesday the U.S. was responsible for the decision to strike.
“We received President Obama’s apology today for the attack against our trauma hospital in Afghanistan,” Liu said in the statement. “However, we reiterate our ask that the U.S. government consent to an independent investigation led by the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission to establish what happened in Kunduz, how it happened, and why it happened.”
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