US determines Kabul drone strike killed innocent aid worker, 9 family members
The revelation comes one week after a New York Times investigation determined the target actually worked for an American aid organization.
An investigation by U.S. Central Command has determined that an Aug. 29 drone strike in Kabul killed an innocent aid worker and nine members of his family, not a member of the ISIS-K terrorist group, a top general announced Friday.
The command now assesses that the man targeted was not affiliated with ISIS-K, the Afghanistan branch of ISIS, or “a direct threat to U.S. forces,” Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, told reporters Friday. “Our investigation now concludes that the strike was a tragic mistake.”
The news comes as U.S. leaders are already facing criticism over the Biden administration’s Afghanistan withdrawal and the fact that the effort left hundreds of Americans and thousands of at-risk Afghans in the country at the end of August. More than 120,000 people were airlifted from Hamid Karzai International Airport before U.S. troops pulled out.
The revelation also comes one week after a New York Times investigation determined the target actually worked for an American aid organization.
Central Command ordered the Aug. 29 strike based on intelligence that the man was planning an “imminent” attack on the airport, where the military was scrambling to evacuate tens of thousands of American citizens and at-risk Afghans before the clock ran out on the withdrawal.
Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in early September called the strike “righteous.”
But instead, the strike “tragically” killed “as many as 10 civilians,” including up to seven children, McKenzie said.
The general stood by the intelligence the military used to determine the target, noting the threat to the airport was posed by a “white Toyota Corolla,” the same type of car that was destroyed in the strike.
He declined to comment as to whether anyone will be disciplined over the strike, noting that the investigation is ongoing. “I have nothing for you now because that involves personnel issues,” McKenzie said.