obama phone
President Obama speaks on the phone in the Oval Office. Reuters/File

United States President Barack Obama apologised to Doctors without Borders' (Médecins Sans Frontières) international President Joanne Liu via telephone on Wednesday for the U.S. airstrikes that hit the Kunduz hospital in Afghanistan on Saturday.

“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,” a White House briefing read.

While White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that Obama did not offer any explanation to Liu for the incident which killed at least 22 people, the U.S. president assured Liu that the U.S. would “provide a transparent, thorough and objective accounting of the facts and circumstances of the incident,” and that, if necessary, he would implement changes to reduce the likeliness of similar tragedies in the future.

On Tuesday, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan General John Campbell told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the U.S. airstrike on Kunduz was a mistake. MSF believe that the strike was a war crime and approached the U.S., Afghanistan and other nations with a request to investigate the matter.

MSF said that the inquiry commission would assemble evidence from the U.S., NATO and Afghanistan along with the testimony from MSF staff members and patients who survived the strike. Liu has also advocated investigations of the airstrikes, but said that MSF could not trust internal military investigations by the U.S., NATO and Afghan forces alone.

“Under the clear presumption that a war crime has been committed, MSF demands that a full and transparent investigation into the event be conducted by an independent international body,” MSF General Director Christopher Stokes said in a statement on Sunday.

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