At least a dozen U.S. military personnel will not face criminal charges for their role in last year’s deadly airstrike on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan that killed 42 civilians, two defense officials told ABC News.
Instead, the military personnel -- including enlisted service members and officers -- will face administrative punishments that in the case of some officers, could be career-ending. The defense officials said the military personnel have been, or will be disciplined for their involvement in the mistaken airstrike last October in the northern city of Kunduz.
The officials said the non-judicial punishments were administrative, including letters of reprimands which typically end any chance of further promotion for military officers.
The Associated Press first reported the punishments on Wednesday.
It is expected that the Pentagon will also soon release its exhaustive investigation of the airstrike in its entirety though in a redacted form. Completed in November military officials have been reviewing 3,000 pages of documents for months in preparation for a redacted release of its contents.
At the time of the airstrike on October 3, Afghan forces were retaking the city in northern Afghanistan which Taliban fighters had seized days before.
The investigation found that American advisers accompanying Afghan forces had called in an airstrike to target a building housing Taliban fighters. But because of technical difficulties the crew of the AC-130 gunship overhead used visual descriptions to locate a building they though was the intended target. But the building they targeted turned out to be a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders, 42 civilians were killed and dozens of others were injured.
The investigation also found that military officials at the headquarters in Bagram who were in touch with the gunship did not realize that the coordinates they were firing at matched a no-strike location.
Doctors Without Borders notified the headquarters at Bagram 12 minutes after the airstrike began that their facility was under attack. By the time headquarters personnel had verified the "fatal mistake" 17 minutes later, the 29-minute airstrike had concluded.