18 Sep 2021: 'Tragic': US admits its Kabul drone strike killed 10 civilians
The United States has admitted that 10 civilians were killed when it launched a drone strike against suspected ISIS terrorists in Kabul last month. The attack came during the final days of the US' chaotic pullout from Afghanistan. Ten civilians, including seven children, were killed in the strike that took place days after a deadly suicide bombing hit the Kabul airport.
Quote: 'It was a tragic mistake'
"It was a mistake, and I offer my sincere apology," US Central Command chief General Kenneth McKenzie told reporters after an investigation. "I am fully responsible for this strike and this tragic outcome." Meanwhile, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin apologized to the family members of the victims. "We apologize, and we will endeavor to learn from this horrible mistake."
Details: 'Clearly our intelligence was wrong'
On August 29, the US intelligence had tracked a white Toyota Corolla for eight hours, believing it was being used by Islamic State operatives and was loaded with explosives. It was considered a threat amid concerns that the ISIS affiliate was planning attacks on the Kabul airport. The New York Times reported the car was filled with water containers. "Clearly our intelligence was wrong."
Fact: US considering compensation for families of victims
McKenzie said the US government is considering ex-gratia financial compensation for the families of those killed in the strike. He, however, added that it is difficult to reach out to people on the ground in Afghanistan now.
Fact: Victims of the US drone strike
Attack: Suicide bombing had killed over 100 at Kabul airport
The US strike had come days after a suicide bombing outside the Kabul airport claimed the lives of at least 175 people, including 13 US service members. That attack was claimed by the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), an affiliate of the ISIS active in parts of Afghanistan. US had warned of terror attack threats to the airport throughout the evacuation operation.
Pullout: US managed a chaotic pullout after Taliban's return to power
The US undertook a frenzied and chaotic evacuation of its troops, citizens, and Afghan allies in the weeks following the Taliban's sudden return to power in Afghanistan. Kabul fell to the group on August 15 and former President Ashraf Ghani fled. More than 1,24,000 people were flown out and efforts are currently underway to evacuate some who were left behind.
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