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NATO Investigators Deem Reports Of Civilian Casualties In Kunduz 'Credible'

Investigators for the NATO coalition in Afghanistan said they have found credible evidence that a U.S. airstrike in Kunduz, Afghanistan, killed civilians.

Back in October, a U.S. gunship opened fire on a Doctors Without Borders hospital, killing 23 people.

In a statement, Gen. John Campbell, the commander of U.S. and coalition forces in Afganistan, said he had also appointed an Army general and two Brigadier Generals outside the chain of command to conduct an "independent and unbiased" investigation into the attack. Those three officials will continue the investigation begun by Brig. Gen. Richard Kim.

"My intent is to disclose the findings of the investigation once it is complete," Campbell said. "We will be forthright and transparent and we will hold ourselves accountable for any mistakes made."

Doctors Without Borders, also known as MSF, for its French initials, has been calling for the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission to be responsible for an international investigation.

As we've reported, MSF has said the U.S. attack was a "war crime," and the U.S. has called it a mistake.

MSF said the death toll from the attack continues to grow. Yesterday, they confirmed that another MSF staff member had been killed. MSF says they are presuming another staff member and two other patients are dead. The organization is still trying to identify the remains of seven bodies found in the wreckage.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.