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US military disciplines 16 over hospital strike in Afghanistan

Soldiers have been disciplined in connection with the 2015 US air strike of a hospital in Afghanistan. The incident led to the deaths of 42 individuals and drew international condemnation.

The Pentagon will release on Friday its final word on the strike, following reports that the military had disciplined 16 people over the incident.

The attack in question occurred last October in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, where a US Air Force special operations AC-130 gunship bombarded a hospital run by the international charity group Doctors Without Borders, injuring 37 in addition to the 42 killed. The military had been assisting Afghan forces in their fight against Taliban militants, who had launched an offensive in an effort to capture the city.

An initial report released in November called the attack an accident, and Gen. John Campbell, then-head of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, later

clarified

by saying a series of blunders had led to the strike on the hospital.

Hospital in Kunduz

Dozens were killed in the US bombardment of a Doctors Without Borders hospital

End of the line for many involved

Doctors Without Borders, however,

has cast doubt on the US military's assertion

that the bombing was a mistake.

While no criminal charges were leveled at the 16 people in question, the punishment - including letters of reprimand - will effectively end their careers.

"These people are not promotable," one US official told Reuters news agency.

The brief capture of Kunduz was one of the Taliban's most significant victories in the 15-year war it has waged since US-led forces removed the militants from power in 2001.

blc/gsw (AP, Reuters, dpa, AFP)

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