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Military to Release Report on Doctors Without Borders Hospital Attack Friday

by Courtney Kube and Ken Dilanian /  / Updated 
Image: Kunduz hospital
An employee of Doctors Without Borders walks inside the charred remains of their hospital on Oct. 16, 2015, after it was hit by a U.S. airstrike in Kunduz, Afghanistan. Najim Rahim / via AP

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A military investigation into the bombing of a Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Afghanistan in October will be released Friday, multiple defense officials told NBC News.

The U.S. airstrike against a Doctors Without Borders trauma center in Kunduz on Oct. 3 killed at least 42 people, the nonprofit organization, also known as Médecins Sans Frontières, has said.

President Barack Obama has apologized for the airstrike, which was conducted as Afghan troops tried to retake the city from the Taliban, and the military pledged an investigation. The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan called it a "tragic mistake."

Related: U.S. Misidentified MSF Hospital Before Attacking It, U.S. Official Says

A senior defense official said Thursday that the report will show the U.S. military did not intentionally strike the hospital.

Still, 16 U.S. military personnel have been disciplined for their roles in the bombing, the official said. The punishments are all non-judicial, meaning no one will be court-martialed and there are no criminal charges pending.

Some of the punishments, however, will be career-ending. The only individual to be named in the investigation will be a general officer; other lower-ranking service members will not be named.

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The new commander of U.S. Central Command, General Joseph Votel, will brief the findings. A defense official says that Votel will provide a detailed timeline of the events of the incident, and CENTCOM will release a heavily redacted version of the 3,000-page investigation.

The U.S. initially gave shifting accounts of the attack, first claiming the strikes targeted "insurgents who were directly firing upon U.S. service members," but then backpedaling from those claims.

Related: Witnesses Recount Airstrikes at Doctors Without Borders Hospital

Doctors Without Borders called the air strikes a war crime. Fourteen staff members and 24 patients have been confirmed to have been killed in the attacks, the organization said in December. The death toll rose as more remains were found in the rubble after the strike, it said.

"Patients burned in their beds, medical staff were decapitated and lost limbs, and others were shot by the circling AC-130 gunship while fleeing the burning building," Doctors Without Borders said in its report of the attacks released in November.

After the airstrike, a defense official told NBC News the cockpit recordings are “damning.” But the military was not planning on releasing any recordings or gun camera footage as of Wednesday evening, officials said.

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