The Pentagon reverses its defense of a deadly drone strike that killed several civilians in Afghanistan last month, announced Friday that a review unveiled that attack killed only civilians, not an Islamic State extremist as initially believed. The head of the United States Central Command, Marine General Frank McKenzie, told a Pentagon press conference that the drone strike was a tragic mistake.
Additionally, they generally apologized for the error and said the U.S. is considering making compensation expenses to the family of the victims. Further, he said that the decision to attack a white Toyota Corolla sedan, after having followed it for around eight hours, was made in an intense belief – based on a standard for reasonable inevitability – that it posed a forthcoming risk American forces at Kabul international airport. He said the U.S. officials believed that the car was carrying explosives in its trunk.
Pentagon admit drone strike that killed multiple civilians in Afghanistan last month killed only civilians not Islamic State extremist as first reported. “The strike was tragic mistake,” Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of US Central Command, told Pentagon news conference.#biden pic.twitter.com/tnEsaf0fY2
— chris west (@cwest0583) September 17, 2021
After some days of the 29th August attack, Pentagon officials emphasized that they conducted the strike correctly, despite ten civilians, including seven children, being killed in the attack. However, later on, news organizations raised doubts about that version of the strikes, reporting that the driver of the targeted car was a long-time worker of a U.S. humanitarian organization and mentioning negligence of evidence to support the claim of the Pentagon that the car contained explosives.
U.S. Final Evacuation and Attack
Moreover, the drone strike was the last of the American war that ended as it started in 2001 – with the Taliban seized Kabul. The speed with which the insurgents invaded Afghanistan took the United States government by surprise and forced it to send many thousand troops to the Afghan capital airport for a swift evacuation of U.S. nationals, Afghans, and others. The evacuation from Kabul, which started on 14th August, unfolded under a continuous threat of attack by an Afghanistan affiliate of the Islamic State group.
McKenzie, who supervised American military operations in Afghanistan, including a concluding evacuation of American forces and over one hundred and twenty thousand civilians from Kabul airport, shared his sympathies to the friends and families of those killed. However, he also said that now he convinced that around ten civilians, including seven children, tragically died in that airstrike. Furthermore, he adds that they now evaluate that it is unlikely that the car and those who killed have associations with ISIS-K or were a real threat to United States forces.
Before the airstrike, American intelligence specified a possibility that the vehicle would use in an attack against American forces. On 29th August morning, such a white Toyota Corolla detected at comping in Kabul that American intelligence in the previous forty-eight hours that the Islamic State group used it to plan and help attacks. The United States drone traced the vehicle from that compound to many other locations in the city before decided to attack it at an area just some miles away from the Kabul airport.
U.S. Defense Secretary Apologized for Attack on Vehicle
Lloyd Austin, the United States Defense Secretary, stated apologized for the attack and called it a horrible mistake. Austin said that they came to know that there were no links between the Islamic State group and the driver of the vehicle and that the activities of the driver that day were completely safe and not at all related to the looming threat they faced.
Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, General Mark Milley, told reporters two days after the attack they carried righteous airstrike and that at least one of the persons killed was a facilitator for the Afghan affiliate Islamic State group, which killed around one hundred and sixty-nine Afghan civilians and thirteen American service members in a suicide attack on 26th August at the Kabul airport.
Milley expressed regret after McKenzie’s comments on Friday. Milley told journalists that it is a horrible tragedy of war and also heart-wrenching. Additionally, he said that they remained committed to staying transparent about the incident. The humanitarian aid group, Amnesty International, called admission a mistake from the American military a good first step.
A senior crisis adviser with Amnesty International, Brian Castner, said that the Pentagon must now commit to impartial, transparent, and full probe into this incident. Anybody suspected of criminal charges should prosecuted in a fair trial. Families of the victims and survivors should keep informed of the development of the probe, and the U.S. should give full compensation.