The commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan said Monday that Afghan forces requested the weekend airstrike that killed 22 people at a Doctors Without Borders hospital in the northern city of Kunduz, The New York Times reports. General John F. Campbell acknowledged at a Pentagon news conference that initial reports that the bombing came in response to a direct threat to American troops appeared to be incorrect.
Twelve staff members and 10 patients died as the medical center was fired upon for more than 30 minutes Saturday amid fighting between the Afghan military and Taliban fighters who had taken control of Kunduz last week. General Campbell said Afghan troops came under attack near the hospital and called for help, contrary to "initial reports which indicated that U.S. forces were threatened and that the airstrike was called on their behalf."
Pentagon officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing U.S. investigation of the raid, said it is likely the AC-130 gunship that hit the hospital was called in to carry out the raid. Doctors Without Borders, which shut down its operation in Kunduz following the strike, criticized the shifting U.S. account and called for an independent inquiry.