US-General: Fehler beim Angriff auf Hospital in Kundus – und mehr Probleme in Afghanistan

(Crosspost – wg. technischer Probleme am 7.10. hier veröffentlicht; dort auch Kommentare dazu)

Der Kommandeur der US-Truppen (und der internationalen Mission Resolute Support) in Afghanistan, General John Campbell, hat bei einer Anhörung vor dem Verteidigungsausschuss des US-Senats nicht nur interne Fehler beim Angriff auf das Krankenhaus von Ärzte ohne Grenzen in Kundus eingeräumt. Er zeichnete auch ein recht düsteres Bild der Situation der afghanischen Sicherheitskräfte. Ein Überblick über die Aussagen Campbells bei der Anhörung am (gestrigen) Dienstag:

Regardless of what mistake may have been made, General Campbell told a Senate committee on Tuesday that the strike was ultimately the result of “a U.S. decision made within the U.S. chain of command.”

He took responsibility for the sustained bombardment of the medical facility, which he said took place in response to an Afghan call for help.
“Obviously, the investigation is still underway, but Campbell’s thinking now is that the Americans on the ground did not follow the rules of engagement fully,” said one of three American officials, all of whom emphasized that no final conclusions had been reached and that the inquiry could yield different reasons for what transpired.

berichtet die New York Times. Auf deren Webseite ist auch ein Video mit den Aussagen Campbells zu dem Krankenhaus-Vorfall zu sehen – diese Äußerungen waren offensichtlich Teil von Fragen und Antworten und sind in dem vorbereiteten Statement des Generals nicht enthalten.
Die vorbereiteten Aussagen zeigen aber schon genügend Probleme auf:

The fighting in Kunduz underscores several shortcomings in the ANDSF to include poor intelligence fusion, lack of cross-pillar coordination, and sub-optimal utilization of their forces. They do not possess the necessary combat power and numbers to protect every part of the country. This makes it very difficult for the ANDSF to counter the Taliban’s ability to temporarily mass, seize an objective, and then blend back into the population when confronted with an ANDSF counterattack. Hence, a
reprioritization of the ANDSF’s security efforts within the framework of their larger, multi-year campaign will be required at the conclusion of this Fighting Season. They also need to improve the responsiveness, flexibility, and preparedness of their forces at the tactical and operational levels. Ultimately, ANDSF leaders also need to discern better when to take the offensive, when to defend, and where to assume risk.

Das komplette Statement hier.

Eine Übersicht der narrative der US-Truppen vom Angriff auf die Klinik in Kundus – und wie sie sich seit dem Luftschlag am vergangenen Samstag verändert hat – haben die Kollegen von Buzzfeed zusammengestellt:

Here’s How The U.S. Military’s Story About Bombing An Afghan Hospital Has Changed

US-Verteidigungsminister Ashton Carter sicherte (erneut) eine sorgfältige Untersuchung des Vorfalls zu:

Today, Commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan General John Campbell informed Congress that a U.S. military airstrike in Kunduz, Afghanistan, to support Afghan forces on the ground resulted in a mistaken attack on a Doctors Without Borders field hospital. Doctors Without Borders does important work all around the world, and the Department of Defense deeply regrets the loss of innocent lives that resulted from this tragic event. The investigation into how this could have happened is continuing, and we are fully supporting NATO and Afghanistan’s concurrent investigations. We will complete our investigation as soon as possible and provide the facts as they become available. 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. Through a full and transparent investigation, we will do everything we can to understand this tragic incident, learn from it, and hold people accountable as necessary.

Nachtrag: Am (heutigen) Mittwoch hat Ärzte ohne Grenzen eine internationale Untersuchung verlangt – von der International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission nach dem Genfer Protokoll. Die Mitteilung der Organisation dazu (von der deutschen Sektion auf Deutsch):

Die Hilfsorganisation Ärzte ohne Grenzen forderte heute auf einer Pressekonferenz in Genf die Staatengemeinschaft dazu auf, die durch die
Genfer Konventionen geschaffene „Internationale Humanitäre Ermittlungskonvention“ damit zu beauftragen, den Angriff der US-Luftwaffe
auf das Krankenhaus in Kundus am Samstagmorgen zu untersuchen. Diese Kommission wurde im Ersten Zusatzprotokoll zu den Genfer Konventionen
geschaffen (Art. 90) und ist die permanente Instanz, die speziell zur Untersuchung von Verletzungen des humanitären Völkerrechts eingeführt
wurde. 76 Staaten, darunter die Bundesrepublik Deutschland, haben eine Erklärung zur Zuständigkeit der Internationalen Humanitären
Ermittlungskommission unterzeichnet.
Ärzte ohne Grenzen fordert die Unterzeichnerstaaten auf, eine Untersuchung des Angriffs in Kundus durch die Kommission zu beantragen, um den
tatsächlichen Hergang unabhängig festzustellen und den geschützten Status von Krankenhäusern in Konflikten wiederherzustellen. Die Internationale
Humanitäre Ermittlungskommission existiert seit 1991, wurde jedoch noch nie eingesetzt. Damit dies geschieht, muss einer der 76 Unterzeichnerstaaten eine Ermittlung beantragen.

Nachtrag 2: Das Internationale Komitee vom Roten Kreuz unterstützte die Forderung von Ärzte ohne Grenzen:

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has said it would welcome all impartial investigations which could help to determine the facts behind the bombing of a hospital run by the charity MSF in Kunduz, Afghanistan and to try to make sure such tragedies are not repeated.
The ICRC was reacting to a call by Medecins Sans Frontieres for the activation of the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission, a body, which was set up under an Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions, but which has yet to be used.
„We have always been supportive of the IHFFC. If it can help to clarify the facts surrounding this tragic incident which led to the deaths of medical staff and patients in a health care facility, which should be protected under the laws of armed conflict, that would be a positive development,“ said Dr Helen Durham, the ICRC’s Director of International Law and Policy.
An IHFFC investigation could be complementary to those being conducted by the United States, NATO and potentially Afghanistan, she added.

Nachtrag 3: Die afghanischen Sicherheitskräfte bleiben bei ihrer Darstellung, das Hospital habe den Taliban als Behandlungszentrum/als Ausgangsbasis gedient:

An Afghan National Army (ANA) commando claimed on Wednesday that Taliban members were possibly present at the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) hospital when the facility was bombed last week. (…)
„Taliban were being treated in this hospital … because it was their main center (in Kunduz) for their healthcare services. I think they had come in large numbers and that the aircraft attacked them,“ he told TOLOnews correspondent Wali Arian in Kunduz.
In addition, he said the Taliban had used the hospital to launch attacks on security forces.
Another ANA officer said the Taliban had seized the hospital for their own injured fighters before it was bombed.

Vorsorglich der Hinweis: Wie schon verschiedentlich dargestellt, hätte das Krankenhaus dennoch seinen völkerrechtlichen Schutz nur dann verloren, wenn es eine Warnung und die Einräumung einer Frist gegeben hätte. Auch ist die Aussage Taliban were being treated in this hospital … because it was their main center (in Kunduz) for their healthcare services zumindest merkwürdig, wenn es um die einzig funktionierende Klinik am Ort geht.

Nachtrag 4: US-Präsident Barack Obama hat sich bei Ärzten ohne Grenzen entschuldigt, wie das Weiße Haus mitteilte:

President Obama spoke today by phone with Doctors Without Borders (MSF) International President Dr. Joanne Liu to apologize and express his condolences for the MSF staff and patients who were killed and injured when a U.S. military airstrike mistakenly struck an MSF field hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. During the call, President Obama expressed regret over the tragic incident and offered his thoughts and prayers on behalf of the American people to the victims, their families, and loved ones. Acknowledging the great respect he has for the important and lifesaving work that MSF does for vulnerable communities in Afghanistan and around the world, the President assured Dr. Liu of his expectation that the Department of Defense investigation currently underway would provide a transparent, thorough, and objective accounting of the facts and circumstances of the incident and pledged full cooperation with the joint investigations being conducted with NATO and the Afghan Government.

Nachtrag 8. Oktober: AFP:

33 MSF staff, patients still missing after US Kunduz air strike
Thirty-three people are still missing five days after a catastrophic US air strike on a hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz that has prompted international outrage, medical charity Doctors Without Borders said Thursday.
Of the missing, nine are patients and 24 are staff, according to Guilhem Molinie, country representative for Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Afghanistan.
„We are still in shock,“ Molinie told a press conference in Kabul. „We lost many colleagues and at the moment it’s clear that we don’t want to take the risk for any of our staff. We don’t control the hospital.“

(Archivbild: Army Gen. John F. Campbell, commander of the U.S. forces in Afghanistan, speaks during the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015 – U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Chuck Burden)