The Pentagon acknowledged Monday that U.S. and Afghan troops probing the deadly U.S. bombing of a trauma hospital in northern Afghanistan smashed through a locked gate at the facility nearly two weeks after the October 3 attack, which killed at least 24 people.
Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said the U.S.-Afghan force arrived at the bombed hospital in Kunduz on Thursday to conduct "a structural integrity assessment" of the building. He said the force did not know that medical personnel from the charity organization Doctors Without Borders, known by the French acronym MSF, were on the site when the combined force broke through the facility's main gate.
Referring to the medical personnel, Davis said "they were understandably not happy" about the incident. He also said the gate will be repaired, and said a formal report on the hospital bombing will be completed within weeks.
An MSF spokeswoman confirmed the forced entry last week, telling reporters it occurred despite an agreement between MSF and the investigative team that called for the military to give notice before each step in the U.S. probe.
Earlier this month, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, army General John Campbell, said the United States accepted full responsibility for the October 3 bombing, which, according to the Pentagon, came after Afghan forces called in U.S. airstrikes against Taliban fighters thought to be firing from inside the medical compound.