Top US general admits wrong drone strike kills innocent Afghans, not ISIS terrorists


General Kenneth McKenzie, commander of the US Central Command. File photo.

WASHINGTON: A top general has admitted that the United States made a “mistake” when it carried out a drone strike in Kabul against suspected Islamic State militants, including children during the last days of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan last month. Including 10 civilians were killed.

The commander of the US Central Command, General Kenneth McKenzie, said the attack was a “terrible code” of the 20-year US-led war in Afghanistan, aimed at targeting a suspected IS operation that US intelligence called “reasonable belief”. The aim was to attack Kabul airport.

“The strike was a tragic mistake,” Mackenzie told reporters after the investigation.

In a statement, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin apologized to the families of those killed.

“I offer my deepest condolences to the families of those killed,” Austin said in a statement.

“We apologize, and we will try to learn from this terrible mistake,” he said.

McKenzie said the government was studying how compensation could be paid to the families of those killed.

White toyota corolla

The general said that on August 29, US forces spotted a white Toyota at a location in Kabul for eight hours after intelligence had identified a location from which Islamic State operatives were believed to have carried out attacks on Kabul airport. Are preparing

He said that due to intelligence reports, US forces were looking at a white Toyota Corolla that the group was allegedly using.

“We’ve chosen this vehicle based on its mobility, which is a well-known area of ​​interest to us,” McKenzie said.

“Clearly, our intelligence about this particular white Toyota was wrong,” he said.

According to Mackenzie, the drone strike killed 10 people, including seven children, none of whom were eventually linked to IS.

Mackenzie defended the US operation as a “self-defense strike” amid fears of an attack on the airport in the last days of the chaos.

On August 26, a suicide bomber from the Islamic State of Khurasan killed 13 people, including several U.S. soldiers, at the airport. There was a huge crowd inside and on one of the final evacuation flights outside the country.

“There were more than 60 clear risk vectors we were dealing with at the time,” McKenzie said.

U.S. officials believe the vehicle was loaded with explosives. The New York Times reported that it was full of water canisters.

McKenzie said no civilians were seen in the area at the time the strike was allowed.

– ‘Completely harmless’ –

Among those killed was an Afghan man working for a US aid group.

“We now know that there was no connection between Mr Ahmadi and ISIS in Khorasan,” Austin said.

He said the Ahmadis’ activities that day were “completely harmless” and that “the man was as innocent as other people who were tragically killed.”

Ahmadi’s brother, Aimal, told AFP that the car was full of children, pretending that parking was an adventure.

“The rocket came and hit a car full of children inside our house,” he said.

“He killed them all.”

“My brother and his four children were killed. I lost my youngest daughter … nieces and nephews.”

AFP could not independently verify the email account.

“On behalf of the men and women of the Department of Defense, I extend my deepest condolences to the family members of those killed, including Ahmadi, and to the staff of Nutrition and Education International, Mr. Ahmadi’s employee.” Austin said.

More than 71,000 Afghan and Pakistani civilians have been directly killed in the US-led war since the September 11, 2001 attacks, according to a study by Brown University in April, then-President Donald Trump The death toll has risen dramatically since the US relaxed engagement rules. .

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