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Pentagon Admits Mistaken Forced Entry At Afghan Doctors' Hospital


The staff director for Doctors Without Borders in Afghanistan, second right, MSF staff, and Afghan military personnel stand outside the entrance to the MSF hospital in Kunduz on October 15.

U.S. military personnel rammed into the gate of a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in Afghanistan last week to gain access to the building, the Pentagon said on October 19.

MSF said last week that a tank had entered the grounds of its hospital in Kunduz without permission, damaging the compound, destroying potential evidence, and distressing its staff.

Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said the vehicle was transporting a team on October 15 to conduct an inspection to determine the structural integrity of the building.

The team mistakenly believed there were no MSF personnel at the site when they rammed the gate, he said.

"Unbeknown to our team, there were MSF personnel, and they were understandably not happy," Davis said. "They should have coordinated ahead of time, and they are going to make it right and make sure that that gate is repaired."

An October 3 bombardment of the hospital killed at least 22 staff and patients. The U.S. military has taken responsibility, saying the incident occurred during intense fighting between Afghan forces and the Taliban.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP
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