Pentagon Admits to Accidentally Killing Afghan Civilians in Drone Strike
The Pentagon has acknowledged that an August 29th drone strike in Afghanistan killed 10 civilians including seven children, The Washington Post reported on Friday.
The United States Department of Defense “tracked a white sedan for hours after it left a suspected Islamic State-Khorasan safe house and that officials believed the car was loaded with explosives for an imminent attack. In fact, the driver, Zamarai Ahmadi, was a longtime aid worker for a U.S.-based group and was hauling water cans for his family, according to officials and video obtained by The Washington Post and others,” the outlet noted.
“The acknowledgment comes after three news organizations, including The Washington Post, published investigations of the incident that each cast doubt on the Pentagon’s claims, including whether Ahmadi carried any explosives and whether his actions implied a man who delivered meals to displaced people was secretly moonlighting as a suicidal insurgent,” wrote correspondent Alex Horton.
The strike, which at the time was based on “reasonable certainty” that the target was associated with ISIS-K, was ordered after a double suicide bombing on August 26th near Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul killed more than 170 civilians and 13 American troops.
“Having thoroughly reviewed the findings of the investigation … I am now convinced that as many as 10 civilians, including up to seven children, were tragically killed in that strike,” Marine General Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie, the head of Central Command, said in a statement on Friday. “It is unlikely that the vehicle and those who died were associated with ISIS-K or were a direct threat to U.S. forces.”