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The US military said a drone strike it launched in Afghanistan on August 29 killed 10 civilians, including up to seven children, overturning its initial claim it had hit an “imminent Isis-K threat “at Kabul airport.
“This strike was a tragic mistake,” General Kenneth McKenzie, commander of the US Central Command, told reporters on Friday as he published the results of an internal investigation into the strike. “We thought it was a good track. We were wrong, ”he said.
The US drone attack in the Afghan capital came on the eve of the departure of the last US troops from the country, ending its 20-year military presence in the country.
After Isis-K terrorists killed dozens of civilians and 13 members of the US military in a suicide bombing at the airport gates three days earlier, US officials were on high alert for further news. attacks in the region.
On August 29, the US military believed it had identified a potential threat from a man driving around Kabul with possible explosives, but it turned out to be Zemari Ahmadi, engineer for the aid group. Nutrition and Education International, which was carrying large jugs of water.
Lloyd Austin, the US Secretary of Defense, apologized for what he called a “horrible mistake”.
“We now know that there was no connection between Mr. Ahmadi and Isis-Khorasan, that his activities that day were completely harmless and not at all related to the imminent threat we thought we were facing, and that Mr. Ahmadi was an equally innocent victim, just like the others tragically killed, ”Austin said.
Immediately after the drone strike on August 29, the US military claimed there had been “significant secondary explosions from the vehicle,” suggesting the presence of explosives.
At the time, he said that while he was “assessing the possibilities of civilian casualties” there was “no indication” of any. Later that day, however, he said “additional” casualties may have occurred, and he was “deeply saddened by any potential loss of innocent lives.”