Pentagon says Kabul drone strike killed 10 civilians in ‘tragic mistake’


WASHINGTON: The U.S. military said on Friday that a drone strike in Kabul last month killed as many as 10 civilians, including seven children, and it apologized for what the Pentagon said it was a tragic mistake.

Senior U.S. officers had said the Aug. 29 strike that took place as foreign forces completed the last stages of their withdrawal from Afghanistan targeted an Islamic States suicide bomber who posed an imminent threat to Kabul airport.

READ: US DRONE STRIKE WIPED OUT KABUL FAMILY, BROTHER SAYS

“At the time of the strike, I was confident that the strike had averted an imminent threat to our forces at the airport,” U.S. General Frank McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command, told reporters. “Our investigation now concludes that the strike was a tragic mistake.”

He said he now believed it unlikely that those who died were Islamic State militants or posed a direct threat to U.S. forces. The Pentagon was considering reparations for the civilians killed, McKenzie said.

McKenzie said at a press conference, “It was a mistake and I offer my sincere apology.”

Reports had emerged almost immediately that the drone strike had killed civilians including children. A spokesman for Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers, Zabihullah Mujahid, had said at the time that strike had killed seven people.

pentagon kabul drone strike mistake

The United States air strike came after an IS suicide bomber triggered a massive blast at an entrance to Kabul airport last week, as huge crowds clamoured to get inside in the hope of getting aboard one of the final evacuation flights out of Afghanistan.

Nearly 100 Afghans were killed in the bombing, and also 13 US service members.

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