Drone assault killed 10 civilians in Kabul, US acknowledges

Common Frank McKenzie, the pinnacle of the US Central Command, acknowledged {that a} US drone raid in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, late in August killed 10 civilians, together with youngsters.

McKenzie stated on Friday that it was “unlikely” that these killed had been related to the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, ISKP (ISIS-Ok), as initially claimed by the US army.

“Having totally reviewed the findings of the investigation and the supporting evaluation by interagency companions, I’m now satisfied that as many as 10 civilians, together with as much as seven youngsters, had been tragically killed in that strike,” McKenzie stated.

The US normal supplied “profound condolences” to the households of the victims, stressing that the assault was taken with the “earnest perception” that it might stop an imminent assault on the airport the place American forces had been evacuating individuals.

“It was a mistake, and I supply my honest apology,” McKenzie stated. “As a combatant commander, I’m absolutely liable for this strike and this tragic consequence.”

US Secretary of Protection Lloyd Austin supplied condolences for the assault’s victims on Friday and introduced a “thorough assessment” of the investigation into the assault that may even contemplate the necessity to alter “strike authorities, procedures and processes” sooner or later.

“We apologize, and we’ll endeavour to be taught from this horrible mistake,” Austin stated in an announcement.

Pentagon acknowledges ‘errors’

The strike on August 29 got here days after a suicide bombing close to the airport, claimed by ISKP, killed at the least 175 individuals, together with 13 US service members.

The US pulled all of its forces from Afghanistan by the top of final month because the Taliban took over the nation, capturing Kabul in mid-August.

US troops, which remained accountable for the airport in Kabul because the Taliban took management of the capital, carried out a large and chaotic evacuation operation to airlift Americans, third-country nationals and Afghan allies.

American officers warned of “credible” threats to the airport by ISKP all through the evacuation operation.


Members of the family of the August 29 drone raid victims informed Al Jazeera after the assault that the ten individuals killed ranged in age from two to 40 years previous.

“They had been harmless, helpless youngsters,” Aimal Ahmadi, whose nieces and nephews had been killed within the assault, informed Al Jazeera on the time.

Regardless of early media experiences of civilian casualties, the Pentagon initially defended the assault, stressing that it killed ISKP operatives.

Mark Milley, the highest US normal, known as the drone assault “righteous” on September 1.

“I don’t need to affect the result of an investigation, however at this level we expect that the procedures had been accurately adopted and it was a righteous strike,” Milley stated then.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby stated Austin has requested for a assessment of the drone raid investigation to incorporate accountability for the measures used to decide on the goal.

Common Frank McKenzie, commander of US Central Command, apologised for the assault, calling it ‘a mistake’ [File: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Photo]

Congressman Adam Schiff, a Democrat who chairs the Home Intelligence Committee, raised considerations about “accuracy and completeness of public statements” after the drone assault.

“In acknowledging that error, the Division of Protection has taken step one in the direction of transparency and accountability. And after such a devastating failure – one which, by the Division’s estimate, killed 10 civilians, at the least 7 of them youngsters – it can’t be the final step,” Schiff stated in an announcement.

“We have to know what went mistaken within the hours and minutes main as much as the strike to stop related tragedies sooner or later.”

On Friday, McKenzie stated the Pentagon stood by the raid early on based mostly on the intelligence out there on the time, noting that he ordered a “complete assessment” of the footage from the assault 24 hours after it passed off.

“I used to be assured that the strike had averted an imminent risk to our forces on the airport,” McKenzie stated at a information briefing.

“Primarily based upon that evaluation, I and different leaders within the Division [of Defense] repeatedly asserted the validity of this strike. I’m right here at this time to set the report straight and acknowledge our errors.”

US contemplating compensation for households

McKenzie described a sequence of actions by the automobile focused by the raid that appeared that it was linked to a doable assault on the airport, together with a cease at a constructing related to ISKP operatives.

The Pentagon officers initially stated that secondary blasts that adopted the drone assault indicated that the automobile was carrying explosives.

On Friday, McKenzie appeared to acknowledge that the early evaluation was defective.

“Subsequent evaluation couldn’t rule out the presence of a small quantity of explosive materials however decided that the most definitely trigger was the ignition of gasoline from a propane tank situated instantly behind the automotive,” he stated.

McKenzie stated the US is contemplating “ex gratia” monetary compensation for the households of the victims, however he famous that it’s troublesome to succeed in out to individuals on the bottom in Afghanistan now.

Amnesty Worldwide welcomed the acknowledgement of civil casualties by the US army on Friday however known as for prosecuting these “suspected of felony accountability” within the assault.

“Survivors and households of the victims must be saved knowledgeable of the progress of the investigation and be given full reparation,” Brian Castner, senior disaster adviser with Amnesty’s disaster response programme, stated in an announcement.

“It must be famous that the US army was solely compelled to confess to its failure on this strike due to the present world scrutiny on Afghanistan.”

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