Drone flies over airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 31, 2021 (AFP / Amir Qureshi)
The Pentagon said Wednesday after an internal investigation that a U.S. drone strike that killed ten Afghan civilians, including seven children, in Kabul on August 29 was a “tragic mistake” but did not violate Porsche laws.
“No violations of the law, including martial law, were found during the investigation,” Defense Ministry official Lt. Gen. Sami Side said in a statement.
“Execution errors in conjunction with stabilization bias and communication breakdowns have caused unfortunate civilian casualties,” he added.
In front of the Pentagon press, Lieutenant-General Side insisted that this was not “wrong”, “criminal, random or negligent”.
He said three days after the attack on ISIS, a local branch of IS-K, which killed 13 U.S. soldiers and about 100 Afghans near Kabul airport, “those involved at the time believed they were the target of an immediate threat.” His statement.
The strike comes amid chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan. On August 29, the U.S. military destroyed a white Toyota Corolla, claiming it was “loaded with explosives” and thwarting an ISIS attack attempt.
US military plane takes off from Kabul on August 30, 2021 (AFP / Amir Qureshi)
But the family of Esmarai Ahmadi, who drove the vehicle, said he worked for a voluntary charity and killed 10 people, including seven children.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has expressed his “genuine condolences” and “apologies” for the mistake.
“The purpose of the strike – the vehicle, its contents and its occupants – was considered an immediate threat to US forces at the time,” the report said.
This assessment is “unfortunately incorrect”, according to the text.
But “the threats to U.S. forces at the airport at the time were overwhelming,” he explains.
Lt. Gen. Side explained that the U.S. military had information about the immediate IS-K attack, and that it was specifically on a white Toyota Corolla with the type of explosives used three days ago.
But the U.S. military pursued the wrong car. “Actually, we don’t follow the good Toyota Corolla,” he admitted.
In addition, the military believed the building next to the strike was vacant. None of those responsible for analyzing satellite images noticed a child entering the observation zone two minutes before the strike.
Finally, the U.S. military concluded that the August 26 deadly attack was carried out with a bomb hidden in a computer bag.
Three days later when they saw two men exchanging computer bags, they immediately thought their followers were IS-K. “Actually, this is a simple computer bag.”
They were affected by, according to the military official, a “pro-confirmation” tendency to make decisions consistent with what one considers possible.
In particular, the report recommends reviewing pre-strike procedures to assess the presence of civilians.
During the investigation conducted by Lieutenant General Syed, 29 people were interrogated under oath, including 22 who were “directly involved in the strike”.
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