Written by Amani Nilar
18 Sep, 2021 | 10:49 am
(News 1st): An investigation by the U.S. military has determined that an airstrike last month in Kabul believed to have eliminated a terrorist threat actually killed civilians and children, a top U.S. General said yesterday (17).
“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,” Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command, told reporters at the Pentagon.
The August 29 airstrike in the capital of Afghanistan came days after a suicide bombing at the international airport killed more than 160 civilians and 13 U.S. soldiers. That attack was attributed to ISIS-K, an extremist group.
“I am now convinced that as many as 10 civilians, including up to 7 children, were tragically killed in that strike,” he said.
McKenzie explained that there was “reasonable certainty at the time of the strike to designate the vehicle as an ‘imminent threat.'” He said that the “investigation now concludes that this was a tragic mistake.
The Marine Corps general acknowledged that the strike “did not come up to our standards” and that “clearly the intelligence was wrong.”
A visual investigation of the strike last week undermined the U.S. military’s initial account of the strike’s success, suggesting instead they had killed an aid worker driving around Kabul for his work.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, who previously referred to the drone attack as a “righteous strike,” said in statement on Friday the strike was a “horrible tragedy of war.”
“It’s heart wrenching and we are committed to being fully transparent about this incident,” Milley added.
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