Washington: Not-for-profit medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF), whose hospital in northern Afghan city of Kunduz was attacked by US air force and resulted in loss of 22 lives, has said an apology from US President Barack Obama is not enough.
MSF reiterated its call for "an independent investigations" soon after Obama called the charity's president Joanne Liu yesterday to apologise and express his condolences for its staff and patients who were killed and injured when a US military air strike mistakenly struck its field hospital over the weekend.
"We received President Obama's apology today for the attack against our trauma hospital in Afghanistan," Liu said in a statement yesterday.
"However, we reiterate our ask that the US 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," Liu said.
During the call, Obama expressed regret over the tragic incident and offered his thoughts and prayers on behalf of the American people to the victims, their families, and loved ones, the White House said.
Obama assured Liu of his expectation that the Department of Defense investigation currently underway would provide a transparent, thorough, and objective accounting of the facts and circumstances of the incident and pledged full cooperation with the joint investigations being conducted with NATO and the Afghan Government, the White House said.
"This (apology) is consistent with something you've heard the President say in a variety of circumstances, and that is that the United States, when we make a mistake, we're honest about it, we own up to it, we apologize where necessary, as the President did in this case and we implement the kinds of changes that make it less likely that those kinds of mistakes will occur in the future," said Josh Earnest, White House Press Secretary.
The Department of Defense goes to great lengths to prevent civilian casualties and certainly civilian deaths in their operations, but in this case, there was a mistake and it's one that the United States owns up to, he added.
"The president has made quite clear that, over the course of these three investigations, particularly the one that's being conducted by the Department of Defense, that it will be transparent, it will be thorough, and it will be objective, and it will provide the full accounting that the president has insisted on from the beginning," Earnest said.