Pentagon calls drone strike which killed Afghan civilians a ‘Tragic Mistake’
The Pentagon has apologised over the drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan which was carried on August 29 and said it was a tragic mistake.
The drone strike killed 10 civilians, including seven children.
The strike was retaliation for a deadly suicide bombing that killed 13 U.S. troops and Afghan civilians outside the Kabul airport days earlier during a massive military-led evacuation. Gen. Mark Milley, the Joint Chiefs chairman, had initially called it a “righteous” strike.
“The strike was a tragic mistake,” Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, said in a Pentagon news conference.
McKenzie apologized for the mistake and said the United States is considering making reparation payments to the family of the victims.
He said the decision to strike a white Toyota Corolla sedan after tracking it for hours, was made in an “earnest belief” based on a standard of “reasonable certainty” that it posed an imminent threat to American forces who were securing the Kabul airport. The car was believed to have been carrying explosives in its trunk, he said.
For days after the Aug. 29 strike, Pentagon officials asserted that it had been conducted correctly, despite 10 civilians being killed, including seven children.
Earlier, five rockets were fired at the Kabul airport but, as per reports, the rockets were intercepted mid-air by the defence system. It is not clear whether all the rockets were brought down or not by the system.
The attack has taken place as the United States is near completion of its withdrawal from Afghanistan after Taliban took control of the government.
Later, reports claimed that a sixth rocket hit a car near the airport. This should be noted that America is responsible for security of the airport and defend it if rockets are fired at Kabul airport.
Few days before the rockets were fired, two blasts had left over 100 people dead, including 13 US soldiers, at the same location. The Islamic State had claimed the responsibility of the airport carnage. Following the incident, president of United States Joe Biden had pledged to take revenge of the attacks. “We will hunt you down and make you pay. I will defend our interests in our people with every measure at my command,” he had said.