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.

US determines Kabul drone strike killed innocent aid worker, 9 family members

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.

Source : Politico EU More   

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France recalls ambassadors to US, Australia over submarine spat

Decision 'is justified by the exceptional gravity' of the situation, says foreign minister.

France recalls ambassadors to US, Australia over submarine spat

PARIS — France has recalled its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia in response to the strategic partnership with the U.K. that displaced a multibillion-euro submarine contract Paris had signed with Canberra.

“At the request of the President of the Republic, I have decided to immediately recall for consultations our ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement. 

“This exceptional decision is justified by the exceptional gravity of the announcements made on September 15 by Australia and the United States,” the statement continued.

The U.S., Australia and U.K. announced on Wednesday a landmark pact that would allow cooperation on military technology but that also saw Australia ditch a deal worth more than €50 billion with France’s Naval Group to build a fleet of submarines, a move Le Drian called a “stab in the back.”

Even though it was Australia that canceled the contract, the bulk of French ire was squarely directed at the U.S.

“The American choice to push aside a European ally and partner like France … shows a lack of coherence that France can only note and regret,” according to a joint statement from Defense Minister Florence Parly and Le Drian that was France’s first official response to the announcement.

The French embassy in Washington also canceled in protest a reception it was hosting on Friday to mark the 240th anniversary of the Battle of the Chesapeake, which commemorates a French naval victory over a British fleet during the American Revolution.

Le Drian will be in New York Monday to participate in the United Nations General Assembly. 

Source : Politico EU More   

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