Just days after the attack on Médecins Sans Frontières, I said that all the available evidence suggested the Afghans asked us to target the hospital — claiming it was being used by Taliban — and we did so, without the vetting that should have prevented the attack.
The AP reports that appears to be precisely what happened.
[T]here are mounting indications the U.S. military relied heavily on its Afghan allies who resented the internationally run hospital, which treated Afghan security forces and Taliban alike but says it refused to admit armed men.
The new evidence includes details the AP has learned about the location of American troops during the attack. The U.S. special forces unit whose commander called in the strike was under fire in the Kunduz provincial governor’s compound a half-mile away from the hospital, according to a former intelligence official who has reviewed documents describing the incident. The commander could not see the medical facility — so couldn’t know firsthand whether the Taliban were using it as a base — and sought the attack on the recommendation of Afghan forces, the official said.
The AP has reported that some American intelligence suggested the Taliban were using the hospital. Special forces and Army intelligence analysts were sifting through reports of heavy weapons at the compound, and they were tracking a Pakistani intelligence operative they believed was there.
It’s unclear how much of that intelligence came from Afghan special forces, who had raided the hospital in July, seeking an al-Qaida member they believed was being treated there, despite protests from Doctors Without Borders. After the American air attack, the Afghan soldiers rushed in, looking for Taliban fighters, Doctors without Borders said.
While it appears DOD is still sorting through where the intelligence it had came from, there seems to be one more question. MSF’s own report strongly suggests that the hospital was bombed to flush the two higher ranking Taliban out of the hospital (one is presumably the Pakistani mentioned by the AP; make sure to read scribe’s comment in that thread). That is, the attack looks very similar to the double tap drone strikes the US has used (most reports of such strikes are from Pakistan), hitting targets with a drone then hitting those who give aid. So it’s not impossible something similar was done here (though I’m not claiming that would mean the targeters knew it was an MSF hospital).
Is that what happened? And if so, how much were Afghans driving that?
And did the Afghans — did we? — capture or kill the ranking Taliban members at the hospital?