United States military forces killed 10 innocent civilians during the final stages of their withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Trigger Warning: Descriptions of War, US Imperialism
In a press release shared by the United States Armed Forces on Friday, it was revealed that the military was responsible for a drone strike in Kabul that killed as many as 10 civilians. At least seven of those murdered in the capital city of Afghanistan were children, the statement affirmed. The military apologized for what it referred to as a "tragic mistake," but the national front will face little to no repercussions for their actions. Even as reports of civilian deaths emerged following the attack, which took place in August, head of the United States Central Command Marine Corps General Frank McKenzie described the drone strike as "righteous," Reuters reports.
"It was a mistake ... I offer my sincere apology" -- Gen. Kenneth McKenzie confirms that a drone strike last month in Afghanistan killed "as many as 10 civilians, including up to 7 children" and didn't actually hit an ISIS-K target pic.twitter.com/CIBpbn37o9— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 17, 2021
According to The Pentagon, the drone strike occurred on August 29 earlier this year. The attack was intended to target an Islamic State suicide bomber who supposedly posed an imminent threat to US-led troops at the airport as they completed the final stages of their withdrawal from the Middle Eastern country. At the time, General McKenzie was confident that the attack successfully averted an imminent threat to the forces at the airport. However, an investigation that began in the aftermath of the drone strike has come to a starkly different conclusion.
I've seen more mainstream coverage todauy of a drone strike that went wrong than I saw over the past 20 years.— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) September 17, 2021
I guess that's progress (yay!)
But it's also a damning indictment of our complete *under-reporting* on civilian casualties and drone strikes over these past 20 years.
The General stated, "Our investigation now concludes that the strike was a tragic mistake." He shared that it was unlikely that those killed were members of the local Islamic State affiliate or ISIS-Khorasan, or that they indeed posed a threat to US troops at the airport. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also released a statement on the incident, noting that the drone strike had killed a Mr. Ahmadi, who worked for a non-profit organization called Nutrition and Education International. Secretary Austin affirmed in his statement, "We now know that there was no connection between Mr. Ahmadi and ISIS-Khorasan, that his activities on that day were completely harmless and not at all related to the imminent threat we believed we faced."
There was nothing unusual about what the US did in Afghanistan: extinguishing an entire family and then getting friendly NYT & NBC reporters to ratify their lie that they killed terrorists but no civilians - except this time the whole world was watching:https://t.co/WoYpcLBkOp— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) September 17, 2021
General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on the other hand blamed the "fog of war" rather than taking responsibility for the drone strike. He said, "In a dynamic high threat environment, the commanders on the ground had the appropriate authority and had reasonable certainty that the target was valid." Nonetheless, the attack has raised important questions about the future of US counter-terrorism strikes in Afghanistan, where forces gathering intelligence have been prematurely interrupted as a result of last month's withdrawal. The confirmation of civilian deaths only further reiterates criticism of the chaotic manner in which the US and Afghan allies withdrew from and evacuated the state. Thus far, this has been the Biden administration's biggest and most complex political crisis.
"Sorry" isn't enough.— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) September 17, 2021
Thousands have been killed in covert, unaccountable drone strikes over the past two decades.
We should be demanding accountability for anyone involved in this and a full inquiry into this and the entire drone program. https://t.co/61kZEZChUo
Henceforth, Secretary Austin will singlehandedly hold the authority to carry out strikes in Afghanistan. Furthermore, reparations for those affected are currently being discussed. Unfortunately, the incident has highlighted the risks involved with America's intelligence failures, a longstanding problem in regions where its military functions. For instance, ten raids conducted by the US in Afghanistan post-2001 resulted in 51 civilian deaths. No US agency or department has responded to detailed questions about them. Justice seems to be a far-off dream for most Afghans affected by America's failed war on terror.
The strike that hit civilians in Kabul as the US was exiting Afghanistan has gotten a lot of attention. @andrewquilty writes about “ten raids that resulted in 51 civilian deaths. No U.S. agency or department responded to detailed questions about them.”https://t.co/wXZUnjFjJM— Asma Khalid (@asmamk) September 19, 2021