Washington: A drone strike that killed 10 civilians, including seven children was a ‘tragic mistake’ said the U.S. military. These drone attacks were conducted on 29th August after blast took place near Kabul Airport.
U.S Central commander apologise and takes full responsibility
Marine Corps General and the head of the US Central Command, Frank McKenzie said on Friday that it was ‘unlikely’ that those killed were associated with the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, ISKP (ISIS-K), as originally claimed by the US military.
“Our investigation now concludes that the strike was a tragic mistake,” McKenzie told reporters.
“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. he further added, “It was a mistake, and I offer my sincere apology.”
He took full responsibility of the incident, “As a combatant commander, I am fully responsible for this strike and this tragic outcome.”
The tragic incident has raised eyebrows about the future U.S. counter-terrorism strikes in the country, where intelligence gathering has been all but choked off since last month’s withdrawal. The confirmation of civilian deaths have triggered critics of the chaotic U.S. withdrawal and evacuation of Afghan allies, which has generated the biggest crisis yet for the Biden administration.
Why drone strike?
The suicide bombing near the Kabul airport claimed by ISKP which killed at least 175 people, including 13 US service members triggered the drone strike of August 29.
By the end of last month as the Taliban took over the country, capturing Kabul in mid-August, the US pulled all of its forces from Afghanistan.
US troops, which remained in control of the airport in Kabul as the Taliban took control of the capital, conducted a massive and chaotic evacuation operation to airlift American citizens, third-country nationals and Afghan allies.
Following the suicide bombing at the airport, the U.S. military launched a drone strike in eastern Afghanistan that it said killed two Islamic State militants. That strike is not under review.The second mistake by the US military was they were on high alert as officials expected more attack on the airport including from rockets and vehicle-borne explosive devices, as the Pentagon wrapped up its mission.
Blamed the fog for deaths
General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, before the investigation and apology appeared to blame the fog of war, even as he acknowledged in a statement that the civilian deaths were “heart wrenching”.
“In a dynamic high threat environment, the commanders on the ground had the appropriate authority and had reasonable certainty that the target was valid,” Milley said.
McKenzie played down the impact
McKenzie played down the impact the latest civilian casualties would have on future actions in Afghanistan.
“I don’t think you should draw any conclusions about our ability to strike in Afghanistan against ISIS-K targets in the future based on this particular strike,” he said.