Drone assault killed 10 civilians in Kabul, US acknowledges

General 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 kids.

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 navy.

“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 stated.

The US basic provided “profound condolences” to the households of the victims, stressing that the assault was taken with the “earnest belief” that it will forestall an imminent assault on the airport the place American forces had been evacuating individuals.

“It was a mistake, and I offer my sincere apology,” McKenzie stated. “As a combatant commander, I am fully responsible for this strike and this tragic outcome.”

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin provided condolences for the assault’s victims on Friday and introduced a “thorough review” of the investigation into the assault that may also think about the necessity to alter “strike authorities, procedures and processes” sooner or later.

“We apologize, and we will endeavour to learn from this horrible mistake,” Austin stated in an announcement.

Pentagon acknowledges ‘mistakes’

The strike on August 29 got here days after a suicide bombing near the airport, claimed by ISKP, killed no less than 175 individuals, together with 13 US service members.

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

US troops, which remained answerable for the airport in Kabul because the Taliban took management of the capital, performed a large and chaotic evacuation operation to airlift American residents, third-country nationals and Afghan allies.

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

Family members of the August 29 drone raid victims advised Al Jazeera after the assault that the 10 individuals killed ranged in age from two to 40 years previous.

“They were innocent, helpless children,” Aimal Ahmadi, whose nieces and nephews had been killed within the assault, advised Al Jazeera on the time.

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

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

“I don’t want to influence the outcome of an investigation, but at this point we think that the procedures were correctly followed and it was a righteous strike,” Milley stated then.

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

General 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 House Intelligence Committee, raised issues about “accuracy and completeness of public statements” after the drone assault.

“In acknowledging that error, the Department of Defense has taken the first step towards transparency and accountability. And after such a devastating failure – one that, by the Department’s estimate, killed 10 civilians, at least 7 of them children – it cannot be the last step,” Schiff stated in an announcement.

“We need to know what went wrong in the hours and minutes leading up to the strike to prevent similar tragedies in the future.”

On Friday, McKenzie stated the Pentagon stood by the raid early on based mostly on the intelligence accessible on the time, noting that he ordered a “comprehensive review” of the footage from the assault 24 hours after it happened.

“I was confident that the strike had averted an imminent threat to our forces at the airport,” McKenzie stated at a information briefing.

“Based upon that assessment, I and other leaders in the Department [of Defense] repeatedly asserted the validity of this strike. I’m here today to set the record straight and acknowledge our mistakes.”

US contemplating compensation for households

McKenzie described a sequence of actions by the automobile focused by the raid that seemed 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 analysis could not rule out the presence of a small amount of explosive material but determined that the most likely cause was the ignition of gas from a propane tank located immediately behind the car,” 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 reach out to individuals on the bottom in Afghanistan now.

Amnesty International welcomed the acknowledgement of civil casualties by the US navy on Friday however known as for prosecuting these “suspected of criminal responsibility” within the assault.

“Survivors and families of the victims should be kept informed 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 should be noted that the US military was only forced to admit to its failure in this strike because of the current global scrutiny on Afghanistan.”

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