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MSF hospital bombing a 'tragic incident', Afghan president tells FRANCE 24

© France 24 screengrab

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2015-12-01

Ashraf Ghani is among some 150 world leaders in Paris for COP21 - the UN conference on climate change. The Afghan president sat down with FRANCE 24 to discuss the bombing of an MSF hospital and the battle against the Taliban for Kunduz.

The bombing of a hospital run by Doctors without Borders (Médecins sans frontières or MSF) left 30 people dead and prompted the NGO to say that the incident may constitute a war crime.

A US army investigation attributed the bombing to “human error” and suspended some officials; MSF has called for further action. FRANCE 24 asked Ghani for his assessment of the tragedy and its aftermath.

“It was a thorough investigation. The two buildings – I’ve seen detailed pictures and, of course, I’ve seen the hospital in my previous visits, I didn’t visit it during this visit – they’re literally about 200-300 metres apart.” “There are no markers on the hospital,” he added.

FRANCE 24 also asked about reports that MSF had called in to warn US forces they were under fire.

“Everything is recorded. The inquiry has been very thorough, people are being sanctioned, people are being pushed to the next step of the legal process and that’s what due process is about.”

Ghani went on to say that Afghanistan appreciates the work of MSF.

“I want to make very clear that the people of Afghanistan and the government of Afghanistan are highly appreciative of the services of MSF...it was a tragic incident.”

Asked about the recent battle against the Taliban for control of Kunduz, Ghani called it “a failure of leadership, particularly at the local level”.

Ultimately, there was a communication and intelligence breakdown, he said. “We had sufficient security forces … but there was an intelligence failure. And one reason that I fired, at the recommendation of the director general of our intelligence service, all the officials at the local level is because they misrepresented the facts, and they had not brought sufficient warning to the centre on the basis of which the right decisions could have been made.”

But Kunduz is now secure, Ghani said.

“The city is secure, [although] the province still faces threats. And we’re carrying out a comprehensive set of operations to make sure that the threat does not reoccur.”

Click on the player above to watch the full FRANCE 24 interview.

Date created : 2015-12-01

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