Declassified military documents released Friday detail not only how the United States mistakenly struck a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan last year but also frustrations among Special Operations troops.
The strike, which killed at least 30 people at the hospital, occurred in the city of Kunduz, which the Taliban had seized in previous days and U.S. Special Operations troops were working alongside Afghan forces to take back.
One officer, whose name, rank and unit were redacted from his witness statement, launched into a diatribe in which he blamed what happened on senior leaders. The officer wrote that he was going to provide unsolicited opinions, and that “these words may well be the greatest contribution of my career for one simple reason: the words I speak are the truth.”
The officer wrote that the enemies of the Kunduz operation were “moral cowardice” and a “profound lack of strategy.” Army Green Berets on the ground in the city at the time asked for guidance “no fewer than three times” during the multiday battle and heard nothing other than crickets — “though those were hard to hear over the gunfire,” he alleged.