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Kabul drone strike was a mistake, admits high U.S. army commander

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General Frank McKenzie, additionally mentioned it was “unlikely that the vehicle and those who died in the August 29 drone strike were associated with ISIS-K or were a direct threat to US forces”.

A high U.S. army commander has conceded as a “mistake” the drone strike by the American forces in Kabul final month, concentrating on ISIS-Okay terrorists days after a suicide bombing on the metropolis airport, that killed 10 civilians, together with as much as seven kids.

Briefing reporters on the outcomes of the investigation of the August 29 strike, General Frank McKenzie, the commander of the US Central Command, additionally mentioned it was “unlikely that the vehicle and those who died in the drone strike were associated with ISIS-K or were a direct threat to US forces”.

However, the strike have to be thought of within the context of the on-ground scenario on the Hamid Karzai International Airport following the ISIS-Okay assault that killed 13 troopers, sailors, and Marines and greater than 100 civilians. Also, a considerable physique of intelligence had indicated the imminence of one other assault, he mentioned.

Gen. McKenzie mentioned that having completely reviewed the findings of the probe and supporting evaluation, he’s satisfied that as many as 10 civilians, together with as much as seven kids, had been tragically killed in that drone strike.

Apology

“It was a mistake, and I offer my sincere apology. As the combatant commander, I am fully responsible for this strike and this tragic outcome,” he instructed reporters at a Pentagon information convention.

“Moreover, we now assess that it is unlikely that the vehicle and those who died were associated with ISIS-K or were a direct threat to US forces. I offer my profound condolences to the family and friends of those who were killed. This strike was taken in the earnest belief that it would prevent an imminent threat to our forces and the evacuees at the airport,” he mentioned.

Gen McKenzie mentioned that 48 hours earlier than the strike, delicate intelligence indicated that the compound was being utilized by ISIS-Okay planners to facilitate future assaults.

“We were also receiving a significant number of reports indicating multiple avenues of attack, being planned simultaneously by ISIS-K would attempt to harm our forces, with rockets, suicide explosive vests, and vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices,” he mentioned.

“In the 36 hours preceding the strike, our leaders at the airport and in the strike cell received more than 60 different pieces of intelligence related to imminent threats, with some corroborating and some conflicting with events observed from our UAVs flying above Kabul throughout the day,” the commander of the US Central Command added.

One of essentially the most recurring elements of the intelligence was that ISIS-Okay would use a white Toyota Corolla as a key ingredient within the subsequent assault. Since the compound at level primary was the strongest lead for the sequence of imminent assaults, intense surveillance of the compound was initiated on the morning of August 29, he mentioned.

Giving an in depth account of the strike, Gen McKenzie mentioned the investigation now concludes that the strike was a tragic mistake.

“First, I will stress, this was not a rushed strike. The strike cell followed and observed this vehicle and its occupants for eight hours while cross-checking what they were seeing with all available intelligence to develop a reasonable certainty of the imminent threat that this vehicle posed to our forces,” he said.

While the initial reports indicated a secondary explosion, the initial investigation could only conclude that there was a possible to probable presence of external accelerants that could include either explosive material in the vehicle or ignition of the gas tank of the vehicle.

Subsequent analysis could not rule out the presence of a small amount of explosive material but determined that the most likely cause was the ignition of gas from a propane tank located immediately behind the car, Gen McKenzie explained.

“While the workforce performed the strike did so within the trustworthy perception that they had been stopping an imminent assault on our forces and civilian evacuees, we now perceive that to be incorrect,” he said.

“I’m right here at the moment to set the document straight and acknowledge our errors. I’ll finish my remarks with the identical word of honest and profound condolences to the household and pals of those that died on this tragic strike,” Gen McKenzie mentioned, including the US is exploring the opportunity of ex gratia funds.

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