Following an investigation into the airstrike, which the U.S. first claimed was a "righteous attack" on a suspected ISIS-K vehicle bomber, the Pentagon admitted on Friday that the August 29 drone strike in Kabul, which killed 10 people, including seven children, was a "horrible mistake."
The statement came a week after in-depth investigations revealed that the US had likely mistaken Afghan charity worker Zemari Ahmadi for a terrorist and killed him and many members of his family.
Pentagon authorities confirmed Friday that a drone attack targeting Islamists in Afghanistan on August 29 killed innocent civilians, including children. The hit came after a horrific suicide bombing near Kabul airport last month, which killed 13 US military members and dozens of Afghan civilians, and was originally credited with preventing another assault.
Biden administration's Kabul drone strike kills innocent people
After allegations that the drone's Hellfire missile killed as many as ten people and had not averted a terror act, as US authorities first claimed, Central Command launched a formal inquiry, known as "15-6," as per NBC News.
According to relatives, the ten people killed were all members of the same extended family, including the seven children. Some of the children were as young as two and three years old. Ahmadi's cousin, Zemari Ahmadi, a technical engineer for a US assistance organization, was the driver of the targeted vehicle.
The New York Times reports some of Ahmadi's actions on the day of the strike may have been misunderstood by U.S. military surveillance, which was on high alert for a terror attack after the Islamic State of Khorasan claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing outside Kabul airport. The military mistook bottles of water for bombs in Ahmadi's car, according to the New York Times, which cited a video of his actions earlier in the day.
Republican lawmakers criticized the Biden administration on Friday after the US military revealed that a drone attack near Kabul's airport on August 29 went wrong, killing ten people instead of the intended target, Islamic State terrorists.
According to NY Post, Republican opponents have claimed that the fatalities are a result of President Joe Biden's tumultuous troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, which has resulted in the rapid fall of the Afghan government and the rise of the Taliban.
The Biden administration has been chastised for its military withdrawal strategy, with legislators from both parties asking why officials ignored intelligence warnings that the Taliban would rise without U.S. forces on the ground.
Gen. McKenzie explains the issue
Critics have lambasted the administration for failing to get all Americans and allies out of the country by the deadline and for the deaths of ten military personnel in the days leading up to the departure, raising concerns about the impact on foreign relations with allies and the ability to gather intelligence on regional adversaries.
Command General Kenneth McKenzie said an aid worker and nine members of his family, including seven children, were killed in a drone attack on an ISIS-K operative on August 29. The youngest casualty was a two-year-old child. It was started in the aftermath of a terror assault on Kabul airport on August 26 that claimed the lives of at least 182 people.
Per Express.co, General McKenzie explained the issue during a news briefing at the Pentagon. ISIS-K operatives were spotted unloading a Corolla in front of a facility, according to intelligence.
The Corolla "contained explosives" and was driven between places on a map displayed at the conference. At 4:39 p.m., the vehicle dropped off a passenger and traveled three kilometers from the airport to its final destination.
The United States was "concerned" that the vehicle "might travel fast" towards the airport, and it was hit just before 5 p.m. A "single hellfire missile" was launched with the goal of minimizing civilian fatalities. However, at 4.53 p.m., it burst "in an unusual way" for the explosive.
General McKenzie described the impact as a "massive fireball," with a second detonation occurring shortly after the missile hit. They first assumed the second burst was caused by explosives, but Gen. McKenzie said the vehicle's oil tank was the "most likely" source of the larger blast.