Civilians killed in Kabul: USA classifies drone attack as “honest mistake”

Civilians killed in Kabul
USA classifies drone attack as “honest mistake”

Ten civilians, including seven children, died in an American drone attack in Kabul in late August. An internal investigation by the US military now speaks of “execution errors” in the wake of the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. However, there were no violations of martial law.

The US Department of Defense does not classify the drone attack in the Afghan capital Kabul at the end of August, which killed ten civilians, as a violation of martial law. The Pentagon said an investigation by the Inspector General of the US Air Force concluded that there had been “no violations of law, including martial law.” Rather, “execution errors” combined with communication problems led to the “unfortunate” deaths of civilians.

“It was an honest mistake,” Inspector General Sami Said told journalists. “But it is not criminal behavior” or “negligence”. The US drone attack on a car in Kabul on August 29 killed ten people, including seven children. According to the Pentagon, those responsible for the attack were of the opinion that the vehicle represented an “immediate danger” for US soldiers at Kabul airport.

After the radical Islamic Taliban came to power, a chaotic evacuation mission for Western citizens and Afghan local staff was carried out there. According to official information, US officials had come to the conclusion that the Afghan branch of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist militia wanted to carry out an explosive attack with the vehicle.

“Very high threat” suspected

“The assessment, which was mainly based on the interpretation of intelligence information and monitoring of the vehicle and its occupants over a period of eight hours, was unfortunately incorrect,” said the Ministry of Defense on Wednesday at the presentation of the Inspector General’s investigation. However, those responsible relied on the “available information” and identified a “very high threat” for US soldiers.

The Pentagon had already admitted in mid-September that innocent civilians and no ISIS members had been killed in the drone attack. The Ministry of Defense spoke of a “tragic mistake” and apologized to the relatives. In the meantime, the USA has offered the relatives compensation and an exit to the USA.

Three days before the drone attack, an IS suicide bomber had killed 13 US soldiers and at least 170 Afghans in the middle of the ongoing evacuation mission at Kabul airport. The US armed forces and intelligence services feared further attacks before the end of the US troop withdrawal at the end of August. The Taliban had overrun the country in the midst of the international troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and seized power again with their invasion of Kabul in mid-August.

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