UPDATED 4:55 PM PT – Friday, September 17, 2021
The Pentagon admitted it made a “tragic mistake” after 10 civilians were killed in a U.S. airstrike in Kabul. Top officials acknowledged the error on Friday, saying the strike killed three adults and seven children and not ISIS-K terrorists as originally reported.
The target believed to be linked to the terrorist group turned out to be an innocent aid worker. Reports said military intelligence had tracked the target and his car for around eight hours after reportedly discovering it at a compound associated with ISIS-K. In addition, they said they also saw what they believed was explosives being loaded into the car, which turned out to be containers of water.
U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth McKenzie said the Aug. 29 strike was a mistake, adding they believed the victims posed an imminent threat to U.S. forces and evacuees at the Kabul airport. However, when he addressed the nation he said “we now assess that it is unlikely that the vehicle and those who died were associated with ISIS-K or a direct threat to U.S. forces.”
BREAKING: Pentagon acknowledges a Kabul airstrike on August 29 killed as many as 10 civilians — including up to 7 children — and it’s “unlikely” they were associated with ISIS-K or a threat to U.S. forces.
“It was a mistake, and I offer my sincere apologies,” Gen. McKenzie says pic.twitter.com/W31OnUOUBO
— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 17, 2021
Targeting two ISIS-K operatives following last months deadly suicide bombing, the Pentagon maintained the strike was a success. The targeted vehicle was being driven by Zemari Ahmadi and all victims were from the same extended family.
McKenzie took full responsibility for the tragic outcome, offering his profound condolences to the victim’s families.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin also shared an apology for the strike, saying he’s conducted a “thorough review of the investigation.” He added the review would also consider the degree to which strike authorities, procedures and processes need to be altered in the future.