An investigation by the Pentagon has revealed that 10 civilians, including as many as seven children, but most importantly no terrorists, were killed in Kabul by a drone strike in late August. The drone missile strike has now been admitted to have targeted an innocent civilian after the military insisted that the target was a member of ISIS-K.
“Our investigation now concludes the strike was a tragic mistake,” Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, chief of U.S. Central Command, said in a released video statement on Friday. fadvdsb
“Having thoroughly reviewed the findings of the investigation and the supporting analysis by interagency partners, I am now convinced that as many as 10 civilians, including up to seven children, were tragically killed in that strike,” McKenzie said.
“Moreover, we now assess that it is unlikely that the vehicle and those who died were associated with ISIS-K or were a direct threat to U.S. forces.”
“This strike was taken in the earnest belief that it would prevent an imminent threat to our forces and the evacuees at the airport, but it was a mistake and I offer my sincere apology,” he added.
“As a combatant commander, I am fully responsible for this strike and this tragic outcome.”
The Pentagon had insisted that at least one ISIS-K facilitator and three civilians were killed in what Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley had previously labeled a “righteous strike” on the compound on August 29. However, the subsequent investigation, revealed that no terrorists were killed in the attack.
U.S. forces launched the strike after they had tracked a white Toyota Corolla for eight hours and deemed it an imminent threat. This came just days after a deadly suicide attack near the Kabul airport had killed about 175 people including 13 American military members.
As many as six Reaper drones tracked Zemerai Ahmadi, who the U.S. believed was an ISIS-K member. However, it turned out that that Ahmadi was an aid worker who had previously worked for the U.S. as a translator.
The military claimed that the strike, which occurred on August 29, prevented “multiple suicide bombers” from attacking Hamid Karzai International Airport. The statement from U.S. Central Command said the attack had targeted “an imminent ISIS-K threat” and that secondary explosions were the result of explosives loaded into the vehicle exploding when the Hellfire missile struck it. Yet, now it appears that the second explosion was a propane tank located in the driveway.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin released a statement on Friday following General McKenzie’s.
“On behalf of the men and women of the Department of Defense, I offer my deepest condolences to surviving family members of those who were killed, including Mr. Ahmadi, and to the staff of Nutrition and Education International, Mr. Ahmadi’s employer,” Austin said.
“I have asked for this review to consider the degree to which the investigation considered all available context and information, the degree to which accountability measures need to be taken and at what level, and the degree to which strike authorities, procedures, and processes need to be altered in the future,” Secretary Lloyd added.
The U.S. is now planning on making a reparations payment to the Ahmadi family.