Obama Apologizes for 'Mistaken' Airstrike on Doctors Without Borders Hospital

Posted: Oct 07, 2015 4:30 PM
Obama Apologizes for 'Mistaken' Airstrike on Doctors Without Borders Hospital

At a White House press conference Wednesday, Press Secretary Josh Earnest informed the media that President Obama called the Doctors Without Border international president, Joanne Liu, to apologize for the U.S. military's mistaken airstrike on a hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan that killed 22 innocent people. He made another telephone call to extend his condolences to Afghan president Ashraf Ghani. 

"When the United States makes a mistake, we own up to it, we apologize where appropriate, and we are honest about what transpired," Earnest said. He described the call as a "heartfelt apology."

His phone call is unlikely to comfort the aid group, however, who is insisting they had no prior warning about an incoming attack. Liu said it violated the terms of the Geneva conventions and has demanded a non-prosecutorial inquiry by the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission.

“This was not just an attack on our hospital – it was an attack on the Geneva conventions. This cannot be tolerated,” said Liu.

General John Campbell, a top U.S. military commander, addressed the tragedy at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Tuesday, lamenting that the medical facility was "mistakenly struck."

Earnest said an investigation is taking place so the Defense Department can prevent such tragic mistakes in the future.