Obama Apologizes for Afghan Hospital Bombing

Afghan security forces inspect a portion of the airstrike site. Afghan security forces inspect a portion of the airstrike site. AP

Pres­id­ent Obama apo­lo­gized Wed­nes­day to Doc­tors Without Bor­ders for the bomb­ing that “mis­takenly struck” an Afghan hos­pit­al over the week­end.

Press sec­ret­ary Josh Earn­est told re­port­ers Wed­nes­day that Obama called Joanne Liu, the head of the med­ic­al-aid or­gan­iz­a­tion, to send his con­dol­ences and apo­lo­gize for what the Amer­ic­an com­mand­er in Afgh­anistan, Gen. John F. Camp­bell, de­scribed Tues­day as a mis­take.

Earn­est said that Obama “be­lieved it was ap­pro­pri­ate” to “own up to our mis­takes … so that we can learn from this in­cid­ent.”

But just one day be­fore, Earn­est as­sured re­port­ers that any apo­logy would be con­tin­gent upon the com­ple­tion of in­vest­ig­a­tions by the De­fense De­part­ment and NATO, as well as the U.S. and Afgh­anistan in­vest­ig­a­tions.

“There’s no deny­ing that what has tran­spired here is a pro­found tragedy for many of the reas­ons that you have cited,” he told re­port­ers Tues­day. “But be­fore I go fur­ther than that, I do want these in­vest­ig­at­ors to col­lect all the avail­able in­form­a­tion to try to learn ex­actly what happened and provide the full ac­count­ing that the pres­id­ent has asked for.

Obama also called Afghan Pres­id­ent Ashraf Gh­ani to re­it­er­ate the U.S. com­mit­ment to a strong re­la­tion­ship with the Afghan gov­ern­ment, Earn­est said.

On Tues­day, Camp­bell told the Sen­ate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee that the bomb­ing was a mis­take. “We would nev­er in­ten­tion­ally tar­get a pro­tec­ted med­ic­al fa­cil­ity.”

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