Washington: President Barack Obama is pushing for a full accounting of the apparent US airstrike on an Afghan hospital that killed 22 medical personnel and civilians, the White House said today, but ruled out demands of an independent investigation.
"The scale of this tragedy is significant enough that it demands a full investigation, and you saw from the President's statement that he issued over the weekend that he expects a full accounting of exactly has happened," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at his daily news conference.
American people and the President expects a full accounting of what transpired, Earnest said in response to a question.
However, the White House did not respond to the demand of an independent investigation by Doctors Without Border, which ran the hospital in Kunduz which came under heavy shelling from US fighter jets in the wee hours of October 3.
Earnest referred to the three investigations currently being undertaken on the tragic incident ?by the US, NATO and the Afghan Government.
"His (President's) expectation is that details won't be whitewashed, they'll be full accounting of what exactly transpired, so that if it's necessary to take steps to prevent something like this from ever happening again, that those reforms are implemented promptly and affectively," he said.
Pending the investigation, Earnest said he would not label the incident as a war crime.
"I wouldn't use the label like that because this is something that continues to be under investigation," he said.
Earnest said the President wants to look at the long-term trajectory of American presence in Afghanistan and factor in both what US experience has been in recent years, but also how best to account for the United States' national security interests inside of Afghanistan.
"The reason that the United States has been involved in Afghanistan and this has been at the center of the president's strategy for Afghanistan is making sure that Afghanistan cannot be used as a safe haven for terrorists to plot and carry out attacks against the United States or our interests around the world," he said.