WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Pentagon officials admitted that the drone strike targeting terrorists in Afghanistan mistakenly killed 10 civilians, including children.
- Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command, said in a briefing that the Aug. 29 attack was “a mistake.”
- The strike was ordered after the suicide bombing near Kabul airport on Aug 26 that killed 13 U.S. military members and about 170 Afghan civilians.
Gen. Frank McKenzie admitted on Friday that the US drone attack near Kabul airport was “a mistake.”
Ten civilians, including children and an aid worker, were killed in the Aug 29 strike, which the Pentagon believed was targeting a terrorist.
“I am now convinced that as many as 10 civilians, including up to seven children were tragically killed in that strike,” said McKenzie. “Moreover, we now assess that it is unlikely that the vehicle and those who died or associated with ISIS-Khorasan or were a direct threat to U.S. forces.”
He noted that the drone strike was carried out “in the earnest belief that it would prevent and terminate a threat to our forces and the evacuees at the airport, but it was a mistake. And I offer my sincere apology.”
McKenzie claimed he is “fully responsible for this strike and this tragic outcome.”
After the attack, military officials have pointed to a secondary explosion, indicating that the white Toyota Corolla was filled with explosives. But McKenzie clarified Friday that a propane tank near the vehicle caused the secondary explosion when it was struck.
Zemerai Ahmadi, the main target of the strike was killed. It turned out, he was an aid worker at Nutrition & Education International, a California-based nonprofit, according to The Associated Press.
Military officials believed Ahmadi and another man were loading explosives into the parked vehicle. The strike was ordered as this was believed to be the final stage of planning for a car bombing.
Ahmadi’s coworkers at the aid organization said he was actually loading bottles of water into the car, The New York Times reported.
The airstrike was ordered after a suicide attack outside Hamid Karzai International Airport killed 13 U.S. service members and as many as 170 Afghans on Aug 26.
ISIS-K claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing.
Chairman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said: “In a dynamic high threat environment, the commanders on the ground had appropriate authority and had reasonable certainty that the target was valid but after deeper post-strike analysis our conclusion is that innocent civilians were killed. This is a horrible tragedy of war and its heart wrenching and we are committed to being fully transparent about this incident.”
Source: Yahoo News