The US Central Command (CENTCOM) has admitted that 10 civilians, including seven children, were killed in a drone attack near Kabul airport in Afghanistan, which resulted in a mistake. US forces claimed to have prevented a terrorist attack. However, an internal investigation confirmed that a humanitarian worker and his relatives had been killed.
At the end of August, a few days before the final departure of American troops from Afghanistan, the United States carried out drone attack, in which, according to the US, a vehicle filled with explosives was to be destroyed, headed for the airport in Kabul. The shelling took place in a residential area of the city. According to witnesses and local media, the rocket hit a private home. After the attack, the US military confirmed that there were reports of casualties among civilians.
The US admits that a drone attack in Kabul killed 10 civilians
US Central Command (CENTCOM) admitted on Friday that the attack had killed 10 civilians. They were the humanitarian worker Zamairi Akmadhi and nine members of his family, including seven children. The youngest child, Sumaya, was two years old. One of those killed, Ahmad Nasser, was an interpreter for the American forces. Other victims previously worked for international organizations and had visas to enter the US.
CENTCOM chief General Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie said intelligence followed the man’s car for eight hours, believing it was linked to ISIS-K fighters. The man’s car was seen on the grounds of the complex associated with this group, and his movements were in line with other intelligence data pertaining to the plans to attack the Kabul airport.
At one point, a surveillance drone saw the men loading what appeared to be explosives into the trunk of a car. It turned out, however, that these were containers with water.
The attack took place when Akmadhi pulled into the driveway of his home about three kilometers from the Kabul airport. The explosion triggered a secondary blast which US officials said was evidence that the car did indeed carry explosives. An investigation later carried out by the Americans found that this was most likely caused by the propane tank on the vehicle.
McKenzie: The attack was a tragic mistake
McKenzie told reporters on Friday that he was convinced the attack had averted an immediate threat. “Our investigation now concludes that the attack was a tragic mistake,” he said.
He said he now considered it unlikely that the dead were members of the local branch of the Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISIS-K) or a threat to US troops. He also reported that the Pentagon was considering compensation in connection with this situation.
The head of the Pentagon: we apologize and we will try to draw conclusions
The head of the Pentagon, General Lloyd Austin, said in a statement that Mr. Ahmadhi, who worked for a non-profit organization called Nutrition and Education International, was killed in the American attack.
“We now know that there was no connection between Mr. Ahmadhi and ISIS-Chorasan, that his actions on that day were completely harmless and not at all related to the imminent threat we believed we were facing,” he admitted. “We are sorry and we will try to learn from this terrible mistake,” he added.
Lloyd Austin will have to allow attacks in Afghanistan
Powers to launch attacks in Afghanistan – against the so-called Islamic State or its factions will no longer rest on US commanders in the region, a US defense representative told Reuters. Austin himself would have to allow any future attacks, he added.
McKenzie said, however, that no conclusions should be drawn about the US’s ability to conduct future attacks in Afghanistan against ISIS-K targets based on this particular one.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / STRINGER