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‘Full investigation’ into Afghan hospital bombing: Pentagon chief

The bombing killed 16 people, including nine staff from the Doctors Without Borders nonprofit

Published: Updated:

A “full investigation” is under way into a deadly bombing at a hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Saturday, amid wide speculation that the incident was the result of a U.S air strike.

Carter said that “U.S. forces in support of Afghan Security Forces were operating nearby, as were Taliban fighters.”

The bombing killed 16 people, including nine staff from the Doctors Without Borders nonprofit, known by its French acronym MSF.

Dozens more were seriously wounded at the facility, a key lifeline that has been running “beyond capacity” during fighting that saw the Taliban seize control of the northern provincial capital for several days.

“A full investigation into the tragic incident is under way in coordination with the Afghan government,” Carter said in a statement.

He added that the United States would “continue to work with our Afghan partners to try and end the ongoing violence in and around Kunduz.”

The early Saturday strike left the building engulfed in flames, with photos posted by MSF showing its staff shocked and dazed.

The charity said the bombing continued for more than 30 minutes after U.S. and Afghan military officials were first alerted that the hospital was being hit.

NATO conceded that U.S. forces may have been behind the strike but has not so far commented on the specific claims of MSF, which has long treated the war-wounded from all sides of the conflict.