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No criminal charges for bombing Afghan hospital: US defense officials

US military officials say more than a dozen US military personnel have been punished for bombing a hospital that killed 42 people in Afghanistan last year, but they face no criminal charges.

The military officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the punishments are largely administrative, such as letters of reprimand and ending chances for further promotion.

The officials, who were not authorized to discuss the outcomes publicly, said the disciplinary process is nearly complete.

The Pentagon has previously said some personnel were suspended from their duties but has given no further details.

The bombed hospital, run by the international medical charity Doctors Without Borders in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, was attacked by a US Air Force AC-130 gunship, one of the most lethal military aircraft in the world.

The Geneva-based Doctors Without Borders said the incident “constitutes a war crime” and demanded an international investigation, but none has been undertaken.

US Army General John Campbell, who was the top American commander in Afghanistan at the time of the bombing has since relinquished command. Campbell has called the attack a “tragic but avoidable accident caused primarily by human error.”

The merciless strike, which lasted for more than an hour, led to the closure of the hospital, depriving tens of thousands of Afghans of vital medical care.

According to an investigation by the medical charity, US military commanders continue to attack the hospital for 17 minutes after being warned that their aircraft was firing on a medical center full of doctors and civilians.

In November, the US military claimed the crew of the AC-130 gunship had been dispatched to hit a Taliban command center in a different building, 411 meters away from the hospital.

However, the crew was hampered by problems with their targeting sensors that led them to begin firing at the hospital even though they saw no hostile activity there.

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