“Horrible Mistake”: Botched Kabul Drone Strike Killed Civilians and Children

On Friday, the U.S. military apologized for killing 10 civilians, including seven innocent children. This happened after the failed drone strike in Kabul, which the Biden administration called a “tragic mistake.”

Previously, the Pentagon claimed the drone strike on August 29 targeted ISIS-K suicide bombers who were a threat to U.S. forces at the airport as they were performing the last steps of departure from Afghanistan.

However, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin revealed in a statement on Friday the drone strike launched by the U.S. military killed seven children and other civilians. 

General McKenzie, who called the strike “righteous,” later admitted it was a “tragic mistake”

Even after reports of children and civilian casualties, General McKenzie, the U.S. Central Commander, described the drone strike as rather “righteous.”

He said, at the time, he was confident the attack prevented an impending threat to the U.S. forces who were at the Kabul airport.

However, in a recent statement, McKenzie is now saying the drone strike was, in fact, a “tragic mistake” after the conclusion of their investigation. He now believes it is unlikely the members of ISIS-K were killed by the drone strike. 

After the failed attack, people are now raising questions about the future of counter-terrorism strikes by the United States in Afghanistan; meanwhile, intelligence gathering has been cut off after the withdrawal of U.S. troops. 

The confirmation of civilians’ and children’s deaths added more fuel for critics to slam the disastrous withdrawal of U.S. troops and evacuation of Americans and Afghan allies. This fact added to the mounting crises of the Biden administration this year.

Secretary of Defense personally apologized for what he calls a “horrible mistake”

On Friday, Austin said in a statement the drone strike killed a civilian, Mr. Ahmadi, who worked for Nutrition and Education International, a nonprofit organization.

Austin acknowledges they know there is no connection between ISIS-K and Mr. Ahmadi. He revealed the activities of Mr. Ahmadi on the day of the strike were totally harmless. 

The Secretary of Defense then apologized and noted the United States government will learn from this “horrible mistake.”

It is uncommon for the defense secretary and Pentagon officials to personally apologize for the civilians slain while conducting military attacks. However, the U.S. military does release reports about the civilians killed during military operations in different parts of the world. 

Reports surfaced immediately that the U.S. drone strike west of Kabul Airport killed children and civilians. Then, footage from the scene of the attack showed a car wreckege strewn in the courtyard of a building.

A spokesman of the Taliban rulers, Zabihullah Mujahid, later on notified the air strike indeed killed seven civilians. This spokesman later confirmed the Taliban is conducting further investigations.