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Three Investigations Launched Into U.S. Airstrike on Doctors Without Borders Clinic

White House press secretary Josh Earnest gestures as he talks about the Islamic State group during the daily press briefing, Monday, Oct. 6, 2014, at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) AP Photo/Evan Vucci

There will be three separate investigations into the U.S. airstrike that killed 22 people at a Doctors Without Border clinic in Afghanistan, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday.

“There is no country in the world or military in the world that goes to greater lengths and places a higher premium on avoiding civilian casualties than the United States Department of Defense,” Earnest said. “These are professionals who take that responsibility quite seriously.”

White House press secretary Josh Earnest speaks during the daily briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014. Earnest responded to questions regarding the government's response to the Ebola outbreak. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

The Defense Department, NATO, and a joint panel of United States and Afghan security forces are launching three separate probes into the weekend strike in Kunduz, Afghanistan.

Gen. John Campbell, the top commander of American and coalition forces in Afghanistan, said Monday that Afghan forces had requested the strike after reporting being under Taliban fire. The U.S. initially said the strike was launched because of threats to U.S. forces.

"We have now learned that on Oct. 3, Afghan forces advised that they were taking fire from enemy positions and asked for air support from U.S. forces," Campbell said. "An airstrike was then called to eliminate the Taliban threat and several civilians were accidentally struck. This is different from the initial reports, which indicated that U.S. forces were threatened and that the airstrike was called on their behalf."

Doctors Without Borders declared the strike a “war crime” and called for an independent investigation.

Earnest would not say if the administration opposed an independent probe, only that "each of these investigations will be aimed at trying to get as much accuracy as possible of the details and what transpired in the lead up to the tragedy.”

Earnest praised the organization.

“We are talking about doctors who have left the safety and comfort of their homes to travel to a remote region of the world that everybody knows is dangerous,” Earnest said. “They are risking their lives to use the skills that they developed to try to provide the basic medical needs of people who live in this community.

“These are brave individuals who are using their skills to try to improve the lives of people that they would otherwise never come in contact with,” Earnest continued. “The fact that some of those individuals lost their lives over the weekend is a profound tragedy.”

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