No misconduct in mistaken Afghan airstrike: Pentagon probe - GulfToday

No misconduct in mistaken Afghan airstrike: Pentagon probe


Afghan residents gather next to a damaged vehicle inside a house, a day after a US drone airstrike in Kabul. AFP

Gulf Today Report

A US drone strike in Kabul in August that killed 10 Afghan civilians was a tragic mistake but did not violate any laws, a Pentagon inspector general said on Wednesday after an investigation.

An independent Pentagon review has concluded that the US drone strike that killed innocent Kabul civilians and children in the final days of the Afghanistan war was not caused by misconduct or negligence, and it doesn't recommend any disciplinary action.


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Three adults, including a man who worked for a US aid group, and seven children were killed in the August 29 operation, with the target believed to have been a home and a vehicle occupied by Daesh militants.

This photo shows the building of Pentagon, US Defence headquarters.

The review, done by Air Force Lt. Gen. Sami Said, found there were breakdowns in communication and in the process of identifying and confirming the target of the bombing. Said concluded that the mistaken strike happened despite prudent measures to prevent civilian deaths.

"I found that given the information they had and the analysis that they did - I understand they reached the wrong conclusion, but ... was it reasonable to conclude what they concluded based on what they had? It was not unreasonable. It just turned out to be incorrect,” Said said. He is the inspector general of the Air Force and is considered independent as he had no direct connection to Afghanistan operations.

"It was an honest mistake," Said told reporters at the Pentagon.

Afghans inspect damage of a family house after a US drone strike on Aug. 29, 2021, in Kabul, Afghanistan. File/AP

"But it's not criminal conduct, random conduct, negligence," he said.

Said said the people directly involved in the strike, which took place during the US-led evacuation of tens of thousands of Afghans after the Taliban seized control of the country, genuinely believed "that they were targeting an imminent strike."

"The intended target of the strike, the vehicle, its contents and occupant, were genuinely assessed at the time as an imminent threat to US forces and mission at Hamid Karzai International Airport," the report said.



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