October 10, 2015 / 10:10 PM / in 2 years

U.S. to make payments to families of Kunduz air strike victims: Pentagon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Defense will seek to make “condolence payments” to families of victims of a U.S. air strike that mistakenly hit a Medecins Sans Frontieres hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, killing 22 people, the Pentagon said on Saturday.

Candles are pictured outside the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland October 7, 2015. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

“The Department of Defense believes it is important to address the consequences of the tragic incident at the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan,” spokesman Peter Cook said in a statement, adding the United States would also pay to repair the charity hospital.

“U.S. Forces-Afghanistan has the authority to make condolence payments and payments toward repair of the hospital. USFOR-A will work with those affected to determine appropriate payments. If necessary and appropriate, the administration will seek additional authority from the Congress,” he said.

President Barack Obama on Wednesday apologized to Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) for the bombing of its hospital.

The medical charity is pressing for an international commission to investigate what it calls a war crime. Among those killed were 12 MSF staff.

On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the U.S. military deeply regretted the loss of life and was acknowledging its mistake and working to understand what went wrong.

“The U.S. military takes the greatest care in our operations to prevent the loss of innocent life, and when we make mistakes, we own up to them. That’s exactly what we’re doing right now,” Carter said in a statement.

Reporting by Sandra Maler Editing by W Simon and David Gregorio

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