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November 12, 2015

Scant Evidence Bombed Hospital Was Taliban Base, Says Report

More than a month after a U.S. airstrike destroyed a Doctors Without Borders hospital in northern Afghanistan, killing more than 30 people, evidence has yet to emerge to support assertions by Afghan security and military officials that the facility was occupied by Taliban, according to the Associated Press.

The news service reports that there are "mounting indications" that U.S. forces relied heavily on intelligence from Afghan allies who were convinced militants were in control of the charity-run hospital in Kunduz. Doctors Without Borders and local eyewitnesses say the facility treated wounded Taliban as well as government forces but that armed men were barred from entering.

The October 3 raid by an AC-130 gunship came amid heavy fighting as Afghan troops sought to retake the then-Taliban-controlled city. The U.S. special forces unit that called in the airstrike was located a half-mile away, the AP writes. Documents reviewed by the news service indicate Afghanistan's government and U.S. commanders in Kunduz believed the hospital compound was under the militants' control.

The Pentagon has called the raid a mistake and is conducting an inquiry in conjunction with NATO and the Afghan government. Doctors Without Borders is calling for the bombing to be investigated by an independent international body.