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US Military Knew Kunduz Airstrike Target Was a Hospital

© AP Photo / Médecins Sans Frontières via APThe Doctors Without Borders hospital is seen in flames, after explosions in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015
The Doctors Without Borders hospital is seen in flames, after explosions in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015 - Sputnik International
US analysts were aware that an Afghan hospital was a protected medical site days before the building was hit by an American airstrike, killing more than 20 civilians, according to the Associated Press.

American special operations analysts were gathering information on the facility because they believed it was being used by a Pakistani intelligence operative to coordinate Taliban activity, the AP reports.

However, it is unclear whether the US commanders who ordered the bombing, which killed 22 patients and staff, were aware that the site was a hospital or knew about the allegations of possible enemy activity.

Afghan staff react inside a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) hospital after an air strike in the city of Kunduz, Afghanistan in this October 3, 2015 - Sputnik International
Investigators Await US Consent to Kunduz Hospital Bombing Inquiry

US intelligence materials suggested that the hospital was being used as a Taliban command and control center and may have housed heavy weapons, according to a former intelligence official familiar with the materials.

Some US analysts justified the attack by saying that the Pakistani operative, believed to have been working for his country's Inter-Service Intelligence directorate, had been killed. However, no evidence has surfaced publicly to support those conclusions about the Pakistani's connections or his demise.

The agency that ran the hospital, Doctors without Borders, has condemned the bombing as a war crime and insists that no gunmen, weapons or ammunition were in the building. It has called for an independent investigation by an international panel.

The United States has to date rejected calls for an independent probe. US officials say the two American investigations, along with an Afghan investigation, are sufficient.

On Thursday, a US tank carrying investigators from a US-Nato-Afghan team reportedly forced its way into the hospital wreckage, possibly destroying evidence in a potential war crimes investigation.

"Their unannounced and forced entry damaged property, destroyed potential evidence and caused stress and fear," Doctors Without Border said.

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